APhA2018: Federal Pharmacy Forum held in Nashville

Brouker, retired Navy pharmacist, keynotes on the art of leadership

The leader becomes the culture, said keynote speaker CAPT (Ret.) Mark Brouker, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, U.S. Navy (USN), in a story-telling, humor-spiked presentation that outlined six behaviors of good leadership at the 19th annual APhA Federal Pharmacy Forum on Friday, March 16.

The Federal Pharmacy Forum’s opening ceremony and education sessions were held in conjunction with the 2018 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Nashville. Approximately 200 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians attended from the U.S. Army (USA), USN, Air Force (USAF), Coast Guard (UCSG), Public Health Service (USPHS), Indian Health Service, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as student pharmacists and others. Approximately 25 supporting industry partners exhibited.

The first behavior of leadership, said Brouker, is to spend time getting to know your staff. Invite them to tell their story. Second, be visible, but don’t be intimidating. No data show leading by fear results in better performance. If you do nothing else, thank people and ask what you can do to help.

“The higher up you get, the more clueless you are,” he said. “Find out what’s really going on” by talking to people. “You can’t fix a problem you don’t know about.”

Third, treat your staff with dignity and respect. When the bad news comes—in “crucible moments”—try not to show shock or anger. Fourth, don’t ignore good or poor performance. Set expectations, keeping in mind that “positive feedback is much more impactful than negative.” With poor performance, if your gut is telling you the status quo is unacceptable, then “you need to change that.” The majority of time, there’s a personal issue going on in their life.

Fifth, optimism is infectious. Brouker, the founder and president of Brouker Leadership Solutions, said a leader needs to be optimistic, fake optimism, or don’t show up. Sixth, continuously learn the art of leadership. These behaviors may seem like common sense, but pay attention to them so that, in crucible moments, “you’ll use the right tool.”  

The moderator for the opening ceremony and welcome was Adele Pietrantoni, BSPharm. A color guard from Vanderbilt University did the honors. The ceremony included the national anthem, sung by LTC Jeff Neigh, PharmD, MBA, MHA, BCPS, USA, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a moment of personal reflection.

In welcoming remarks, APhA President Nancy A. Alvarez, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, said that for many federal pharmacists, practicing at the top of their licenses in team-based care was nothing new. “This era is truly the opportunity of a lifetime,” Alvarez said. “The momentum is shifting in our direction.”

The 2018 APhA Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award was presented to Anthony P. Morreale, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, of the VA. “Careers have a funny way of developing,” Morreale said. “I hope that all of you take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.” The award was sponsored by The Roche Foundation.

CAPT William Pierce, USPHS, presented the 2018 USPHS Award of Excellence to Walgreens for the company’s dedication to helping patients, including displaced special needs patients who were especially vulnerable, in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The perspectives of senior leaders were presented by COL David Bobb, RPh, JD, Defense Health Agency; RADM Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Professional Officer for Pharmacy, USPHS; Ronald A. Nosek Jr., BSPharm, MS, FASHP, VA;  Col Melissa Howard, USAF; Neigh, USA; and CAPT Michael Shiber, USCG.

Maj Richard Caballero, USAF, presented on the APhA House of Delegates, on behalf of the federal pharmacy delegates. Kathleen Lusk, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor at the University of the Incarnate Work Feik School of Pharmacy, presented on the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process.

Concluding the forum, on Monday, March 19, the Federal Pharmacy Caucus will hold a lunch meeting.