Article Index

HOPA Publications Committee

Ashley Glode, PharmD BCOP, Chair

Megan Bodge, PharmD BCOP, Vice Chair

Edward Li, PharmD, Board Liaison

Brandi Anders, PharmD BCOP

Morgan Belling, PharmD

Megan Brafford May, PharmD BCOP

Lisa M. Cordes, PharmD BCOP BCACP

Morgan E. Culver, PharmD BCOP

Craig W. Freyer, PharmD BCOP

Marc Geirnaert, BSc Pharm

Carolyn Oxencis, PharmD BCOP BCPS

Christan M. Thomas, PharmD BCOP

Sarah Ussery, PharmD BCOP

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Board Update: Big Ideas

about board bio sarah scarpace
Sarah Scarpace Peters, PharmD MPH BCOP
HOPA President (2016-2017)

HOPA’s founders (see HOPA’s history at had a “big idea” when they recognized that the emerging specialty of hematology/oncology pharmacy needed its own forum for education and sharing of research in the field. As with the genesis of other big ideas in history, legend has it that two of the original founders sketched the idea for what would become HOPA on the back of a napkin in the Atlanta airport. HOPA has come a long way since then—expanding its education programs, establishing a health policy agenda, and being invited to sit at more and more tables.  All these have been opportunities to continue to establish the value proposition for hematology/oncology pharmacy services. The ultimate “big idea” for HOPA today is for patients, providers, payers, professional associations, and policymakers alike to ask for hematology/oncology pharmacists by profession and by name.

In the 2 months since I wrote the last Board Update for HOPA News, a hematology/oncology pharmacist has again been requested by name to give input on important initiatives. HOPA member John Valgus, PharmD BCOP, current chair of the Practice Management Program work group, served as HOPA’s representative on a task force of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP) that was asked to provide comment on the new Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine: Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) codes (see the press release at This is an important historical milestone for HOPA: we have been an observer organization of the influential JCPP for 2 years, and it was symbolically meaningful that we were invited to participate on the task force without being a JCPP member (a first for HOPA). Dr. Valgus’s consistent participation on a series of calls and e-mail exchanges undoubtedly added to JCPP’s favorable opinion of HOPA, and on December 6, 2016, we were formally invited to become a full member of JCPP. The HOPA board approved our membership at our meeting on December 15, 2016.

In November 2016, I attended two meetings on HOPA’s behalf: at one, to contribute perspectives (some offered by HOPA’s Re- search Committee) as a stakeholder organization in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Academic Research Fellows Program, and at another, to engage with payers and others on “driving value and outcomes in oncology” at an Oncology Partner- ship Forum of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

The HOPA board is also pleased to announce that we approved HOPA’s participation in three additional external relationships:
(1) the National Quality Forum, (2) the University of Maryland Hazardous Drug Safety Center, and (3) Walgreens/Pharmacy Times continuing education opportunity for training the non-BCOP pharmacist on lung cancer. For each of these relationships, we are seeking HOPA members to serve as our representative.

Some committee and task force chairs were invited to join me in January 2017 for an hour-long Voice of America radio show and podcast hosted by the Cancer Support Community to reach cancer patients and explain to them how to best utilize their hematology/ oncology pharmacist.

A final note on this front is that President-Elect Susannah Koontz Webb, PharmD BCOP FHOPA, Executive Director Suzanne Simons, MS, and I had a very productive and engaging meeting with Cliff Hudis, MD, the new CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), during which several opportunities for collaboration were identified. Dr. Koontz Webb had an additional meeting with Dr. Ken Miller to further explore HOPA’s participation in ASCO’s CancerLinQ, an ambitious endeavor by ASCO to collect and use real-world patient data (learn more at Thanks to this work by Dr. Koontz Webb and former HOPA president Donald Harvey and others, we were invited to join the ASCO CancerLinQ Leadership Council; the HOPA board approved our participation at its December 15, 2016, meeting.

While HOPA has been very busy pursuing big opportunities external to the organization, we have also been working on some big initiatives internally. We congratulate Mike Vozniak for submitting the Big Idea proposal that was selected by the membership for implementation: to establish a hematology/oncology pharmacy competency and certificate program. The training of non-BCOP- or non-PGY-2- trained oncology pharmacists is a frequent topic of HOPA Central discussions; who better to implement such a program than HOPA? In a complementary effort, two additional task forces are hard at work, one led by Ginah Nightingale, PharmD BCOP, and Ila Saunders, PharmD BCOP, to define entry-level competencies for  the new PharmD graduate, and a second led by Lisa Holle, PharmD BCOP (HOPA president, 2012–2013), to update HOPA’s 2010 “Scope of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacist” document.

The board also made a very difficult decision about another HOPA document at its November 2016 meeting. The Oral Chemotherapy Medication Therapy Management Standard Task Force, which had been at work for nearly 5 years, has been sunsetted. We struggled greatly with this decision over the course of the year, and ultimately, following the return of feedback from HOPA’s members as part of the review process, the board finally came to terms with three very important issues: (1) so much has changed in the environment of oral chemotherapy that HOPA’s members desired a major shift in focus—or, more accurately, multiple new foci—to support the work that they do every day in oral chemotherapy; (2) the board is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the standard, we learned that the original charge to the task force was not clear, and we had not modified the charge to keep pace with the environmental changes that occurred over the course of the standard’s development; and (3) we were so distressed at the prospect of losing the work, energy, and trust of those HOPA members who had spent so much time working on this project that we had been reluctant to intervene sooner. I had an honest and productive call with the primary authors (Moe Schwartz, PharmD BCOP, HOPA president, 2010–2011; Steve Stricker, PharmD MS BCOP; and Danielle Roman, PharmD BCOP) after the November board meeting, and we have a plan in place to use the work that has already been done. The board will be sending out a call for a new task force before June 2017 and will give its members very specific charges. We also hosted a meeting with the Standards Committee and two other HOPA members who have experience writing standards, guidelines, and position papers for other organizations on December 15, 2016, at HOPA’s headquarters to establish procedures for how each type of HOPA document will be created. That meeting was very productive, and we’ve made excellent progress in drafting procedures for creating these documents. The growth of an organization necessitates reflection and learning from challenges, and though the process can be difficult and uncomfortable, the lessons learned will make HOPA even stronger in the future.

Last, but certainly not least, we held an open-comment period for some proposed HOPA bylaw changes to support our new committee structure. This committee restructuring is another very big idea that has been necessitated by the rapid growth of our programs, outreach, and reputation. I hope that you took the opportunity to review the proposed changes and submit your feedback—your comments are very valuable! The changes to the bylaws were approved by a vote of HOPA members in early March.

Big plans, big lessons, and big ideas. We hope that you are as energized by our continued progress and development as we on the HOPA Board of Directors are!