HOPA Publications Committee
Ashley Glode, PharmD BCOP, Editor
Megan Bodge, PharmD BCOP, Associate Editor
Christan Thomas, PharmD BCOP, Associate Editor
Edward Li, PharmD, Board Liaison
Lindsey Amerine, PharmD MS BCPS
Brandi Anders, PharmD BCOP
Lisa M. Cordes, PharmD BCOP BCACP
Morgan Culver, PharmD BCOP
Karen Fancher, PharmD BCOP
Craig W. Freyer, PharmD BCOP
Robert Mancini, PharmD, BCOP
Sarah Newman, PharmD BCPS
Sarah Ussery, PharmD BCOP
Board Update: Work of Many Hands
Susannah E. Koontz, PharmD BCOP FHOPA
HOPA President (2017-2018)
Principal, Koontz Oncology Consulting, LLC
“Many hands make light work” is the proverbial wisdom of John Heywood, a 16th-century English writer. Its meaning is quite straightforward: complex tasks and large projects can be done more easily when people work together. This adage stands the test of time and accurately describes how we in HOPA are able to carry out such a wide array of activities with results that have great impact.
We closed out 2017 with several colleagues traveling both near and far on behalf of HOPA to represent your professional interests and build relationships with stakeholders. In early October, I attended the British Oncology Pharmacy Association (BOPA) 20th Anniversary Symposium in Glasgow, Scotland. There I copresented with Klaus Meier, president of the European Society of Oncology Pharmacy, on opportunities for international hematology/oncology pharmacy groups to collaborate on education, research, and advocacy. We continued the conversation later that evening with our BOPA hosts during their anniversary gala cèilidh. I returned home to Houston (just in time for the American League Championship Series) with a few ideas on how HOPA can expand its collaborative reach around the globe.
Washington, DC, was the epicenter of HOPA activity during the month of November. First, Angela Urmanski and Sandra Cuellar participated in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Small Business and Industry Assistance Regulatory Education for Industry (CDER SBIA REdI) Prescription Drug Labeling Conference held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The overarching goal of the conference was to provide helpful information to overcome challenges in developing prescribing information, patient labeling, and structured product labeling. Specific to hematology/oncology pharmacy, our colleagues identified weaknesses in current practices of investigational drug product labeling. HOPA will continue to explore ways to identify best practices in labeling investigational agents to ensure that these lifesaving drugs are delivered to our patients in the safest manner.
Next, to address research gaps in treating older adults with cancer, the FDA and the American Society of Clinical Oncology jointly hosted a Geriatric Oncology Workshop on November 6. This group of diverse stakeholders, including HOPA’s Ginah Nightingale, discussed improving the evidence base for treatment of older cancer patients, increasing enrollment of older patients in cancer trials, and identifying infrastructure elements necessary for executing clinical trials in geriatric oncology. Activity in the field of geriatric oncology will undoubtedly increase, and we expect to see growing opportunities for our members for education, research, and advocacy related to this subject.
On November 8, the Patient Equal Access Coalition (PEAC) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers on the importance of parity legislation. Sarah Hudson-Disalle, a member of HOPA’s Public Policy Committee, was a featured speaker during the event. PEAC, of which HOPA is a member, is a group dedicated to ensuring that patients have equality in access to cancer medications and insurance coverage for the medications, regardless of the delivery method. Sarah spoke about how the Cancer Drug Parity Act of 2017 (H.R. 1409) would improve cancer care by helping to curb “financial toxicity,” a leading reason that many of our patients cannot adequately adhere to their prescribed therapies.
Finally, HOPA returned to Capitol Hill at the end of November, this time represented by members of the HOPA Board of Directors and the Public Policy Committee. Fifteen of us visited congressional offices to continue to advocate for cancer parity legislation and the designation of pharmacists as healthcare providers under the Social Security Act (Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act [H.R. 592/S. 109]). Progress continues on achieving pharmacist provider status in 2018: the second session of the 115th Congress opened with more than 240 cosponsors for H.R. 592 and support from just over 50% of the Senate for S. 109.
At the Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology and Oncology (APSHO) JADPRO Live 2017 meeting in Houston, November 2–5, we had our first opportunity to offer Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP) recertification programming outside of our internal curriculum. Ashley Glode, Donald Harvey, Patrick Kiel, and Edward Li delivered high-quality presentations to receptive audiences. Building on the success of this education platform, we are exploring additional opportunities to partner with peer organizations to increase our live BCOP recertification offerings across the country.
HOPA and our members were prominent in the activities of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Meeting in Orlando, FL, in December. Early in the meeting we cohosted with Pharmacy Times Continuing Education, working in collaboration with Walgreens Corporation, a seminar titled “Pharmacists Reaching Out®: Improving Treatment and Care in Patients with Lung Cancer.” Our colleague Maryann Cooper served as HOPA faculty in this session combining a didactic lecture and a skills workshop aimed at educating pharmacists in the multidisciplinary care of lung cancer patients. Ryan Bookout, incoming HOPA president, reported overwhelmingly positive feedback, a testimony to how oncology pharmacists are integral to optimizing the care of cancer patients.
Our booth in the exhibit hall, staffed by HOPA members Justina Frimpong, Kate Jeffers, Edward Li, Jacky Olin, Brandon Shank, and me, along with HOPA staff members Julie Ichiba and Sarah Tiwana, received a lot of traffic during the Midyear Meeting. We were busy touting the value of HOPA membership as part of our effort to increase the number of “available hands” within our organization to advance our mission.
One of the highlights of the Midyear Meeting for me was seeing our programs and members recognized for their exceptional contributions to the field of hematology/oncology pharmacy. HOPA’s position statement Dose Rounding of Biologic and Cytotoxic Anticancer Agents (hoparx.org/resources/professional-tools) received high praise during a standing-room-only session focused on strategies for reducing pharmaceutical waste. And ASHP awards were bestowed on several HOPA members. Brandi Anders, LeAnne Kennedy, and Brian Marlow, along with their colleagues, were honored with a 2017 Best Practices Award for their project “Evaluation of a Pharmacist Led Outpatient Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Program” at Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, NC. Joshua Elder of Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, KY, was recognized for his teaching and mentoring skills with the 2017 New Preceptor Award. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their achievements.
With only a handful of days left in my presidency, I look forward to continuing to work on your behalf as past president after handing over the leadership reins to Ryan Bookout and to celebrating HOPA’s many accomplishments with you at HOPA’s 14th Annual Conference in Denver.