Marshall Cates, CPNP President
I am proud to be part of CPNP right now.
These are undoubtedly difficult times. The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has placed an immense amount of stress on individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. Like our members, CPNP is resilient and is tackling various challenges head-on. Careful planning over the years has positioned us to be able to move boldly forward during this key time of transition as described below.
We are providing virtual education and networking at CPNP 2021
We had to adapt quickly to move our annual conference to an online format in spring 2020, but we have time to really put our best foot forward in 2021. The last 4 months were spent researching best practices and gathering feedback from you about the conference. In fact, more than 400 (30%) of you participated in planning committees, focus groups, and a member survey. After processing that data and public health insights, the Board recently made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person elements planned for Florida and instead make CPNP 2021 a virtual conference.
Based on the member survey, 20% of members think we should have an in-person meeting in April 2021. I want to explain our decision-making process to those members. We hope the pandemic and related economic impacts subside before April. However, the required preparation time along with contractual realities demanded that a decision be made in September 2020 based on the situation today and reasonable expectations about the spring. We would not just have to convince our members to travel to the conference, but we would have to choose speakers and vendors willing to commit to travel. Even if enough were willing to travel, we would risk being a health care association responsible for a super-spreader event thereby harming our patients and our reputation.
There are layers of reasons to be virtual in 2021, and the member survey validated them for us. If distancing guidelines persist into 2021, then we would have had to cap attendance. Regardless of such a cap, nearly one-half (49%) of members expect continued employer travel restrictions such that attending in-person would have been impracticable. The majority of members indicated that they would not attend unless employer restrictions were lifted (77%), state restrictions were lifted (66%), and a vaccine was generally available (51%). Unfortunately, many institutions have already set travel policy (49%) and restricted CE budgets (35%) through April. While a small meeting can be worthwhile, it would have been financially irresponsible this year in particular at a venue contracted for a standard, large meeting. Many comments indicated a desire to be in-person but acknowledged that we have to prioritize safety and budgetary realities.
Fortunately, we have an energized team of volunteers and staff working to not only provide the high quality programming CPNP is known for but to also include significant networking as a component of the virtual meeting. You will have opportunities to engage with old friends and new colleagues through enhanced poster sessions, Idea Exchanges, mentoring, and several exciting new concepts that will be announced in the coming months. Add in concurrent sessions, speaker videos, and more flexibility to your daily schedule, and there is something for everyone! To help during the budget crunch and to make the meeting accessible to more pharmacists, the registration fee will also be greatly reduced this year.
Please watch your email over the next few months as we release more details about the plan and make arrangements to join us next April 19-23 at cpnp.org/2021.
We are looking to the future with strategic planning
We are working through our most expansive strategic planning cycle ever. The 20-person Strategic Planning Committee represents all types of practice settings and specialties. They will create a plan for the coming years based on the work of 5 research groups, multiple focus groups, and a member survey (coming in January). Because of past efforts, we are able to focus on thriving in coming years rather than on surviving this year. Watch your email for invitations to provide feedback and contribute to this process.
We are expanding the reach of psychiatric pharmacists
There are four (4) CPNP-sponsored papers currently in peer review, and we expect to see them all published by early 2021. Once published, these papers will provide a clear picture of the practice, the impact, and the optimal role of psychiatric pharmacists. While these papers were carefully chosen for their role in professional affairs, you can help with our advocacy by publishing your own case studies, research projects, and practice insights.
We are contributing to members, patients, and the profession
We are developing new clinical toolkits, writing new patient resources, generating tips for new practitioners, conducting best practice research, monitoring literature, preparing government affairs for the new Congress, boosting coalitions and partnerships, electing new Board members, and ensuring that nothing stalls the important work of expanding psychiatric pharmacy.
We are a member-driven organization, so keep sending us feedback and continue volunteering to support these new initiatives. Together, we will come out of these challenging times even stronger.