Advocacy and Collaboration: Making our Voices Heard

Just prior to last year’s CAPhO Conference in Niagara Falls, the CAPhO Executive was approached by CAPhO member Mario De Lemos regarding ASCO’s recently published antiemetic guideline update. Mario very astutely noted that oncology pharmacists were excluded from the targeted audience. As part of ongoing efforts in advocacy, CAPhO President Mark Pasetka and Past-President Jennifer Jupp drafted a Letter to the Editor  to the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Continuing to engage with Mario, as well as other CAPhO members, a draft was created and collaboration with HOPA president Scott Soefje and ISOPP president Rowena Schwartz ensued. The subsequent Letter was submitted to the Journal of Clinical Oncology for publication. 
As noted in the 2014 ASCO report regarding the State of Cancer Care in America, the expanded use of highly skilled clinical support staff, like pharmacists, can enhance the quality and support of patient care. This is particularly important in view of the increasingly limited medical oncology workforce. The statement in this report is important, but it’s certainly not new a new concept to us. Oncology pharmacists have always been very aware of our role and what we contribute to patient care. Thus, CAPhO’s collaboration with both HOPA and ISOPP was an easy and mutual one. Turns out, we’re all on the same page and all three oncology pharmacy organizations supported what we all know…that oncology pharmacists have a unique and primary role in the care of our patients.
Paul Hesketh then replied on behalf of ASCO, agreeing with our letter, stating that subsequent publications will recognize that “the target audience will include oncology pharmacists and other key oncology professionals for whom the guideline applies.” This is noteworthy in that other professions recognize the value of oncology pharmacy and the unique role it plays in improving patient care.
This letter to the editor and subsequent positive response epitomizes the necessity to continue to advocate for oncology pharmacy. Other professions recognize our value when asked, but may need to be reminded of what we can provide at key moments. CAPhO is here as a voice and advocacy body, ready to assist in making the voice of oncology pharmacy heard. Hear our call to action: be bold, make a difference. And don’t forget that you are not alone.   
- Jennifer Jupp, CAPhO President 2011 - 2013