PharmD Student Valerie Budinger Shares How She Discovered Her Love for Policy and Advocacy through APhA

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I first found my love for policy and advocacy at the 2012 APhA Annual in New Orleans, LA. I remember looking down at the stage during the House of Delegates (HOD) and thinking, “I want to do that! I want to be the APhA-ASP Speaker of the House!” While I never ended up front and center on that stage, I found other ways to advocate for the profession.

I decided to dive into APhA-ASP on a regional level by running for Regional Delegate at the Midyear Regional Meeting (MRM) the following autumn. Our biggest responsibility was drafting the policies that would be discussed at the 2013 APhA Annual. Being able to see our work on the big screen at Annual, displayed for student pharmacists across the country, made all of the work worth it.

I also had the opportunity to interact with the other 23 schools of pharmacy in our region. Through this position, I became intimately involved in the policy process and set out to spark a love of policy in others. At my outgoing MRM, we kicked off the policy process for the next year. As I witnessed everyone’s excitement for the future of our profession, it made the end of my term all the better.

After serving as Regional Delegate, I applied for the position of standing committee member and was chosen to serve on the Policy Standing Committee (PSC). Our goal as the PSC was to put the policies passed at Annual into action. We worked to make policies more than just pen and paper. One way I contributed to this process was by interviewing Dr. Bella Mehta on pharmacist-led clinics and turning our interview into an article published in Student Pharmacist Magazine.

While the PSC isn’t in the limelight, we played a vital role in making sure all the leg work that goes into the policy process is complete. This includes revamping toolkits for chapter members, composing and participating in webinars, and developing monthly communications to be shared on social media. The reach of a standing committee is vast; we were often treated like an extension of staff. The commitment and responsibility that comes with being on the PSC lent itself to big rewards at a job well done.

These positions were more than just fun extracurricular to me (but don’t get me wrong, I have had a great time every step of the way). They were also a chance for me to grow both professionally and personally. I have no doubt that my involvement within the profession and within APhA will not end at graduation. I hope to continue in my leadership roles as a part of this wonderful organization. Who knows… maybe you will see me front and center on that stage as APhA Speaker of the House! (I can dream can’t I?)