Herman Takes Part in ASCP CANO Legislative Internship
In summer 2022, P3 student Abigail Herman, MBA, B.S. ‘21, was selected as one of just two pharmacy students nationwide to take part in the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists’ (ASCP) Paul G. Cano Legislative Internship. The annual internship offers student pharmacists valuable experience and training in legislative and regulatory advocacy on a federal level, and a first-hand look at how politics shape pharmacists’ practice across the nation.
Herman spent eight weeks just outside Washington D.C. in Alexandria, Virginia, where she had the opportunity to connect with national pharmacy organizations, develop comment letters to legislators and spend time on Capitol Hill. For Herman, the internship was a transformational experience that helped solidify her interest in eventually becoming a pharmacy owner and emphasized the importance of being an advocate for the profession of pharmacy.
“This internship offered amazing opportunities to connect with national organizations like the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA), and also see how they interact with other federal organizations like the United States Food and Drug Administration,” Herman said.
ASCP is a membership association that represents pharmacists, health care professionals and students serving the medication needs of long-term care residents, including older adults and the medically complex. Herman credits her student involvement with ASCP as the driving force behind her selection as an ASCP CANO intern.
“ASCP is a unique group because it represents pharmacists who are focused on optimizing medication therapies for those that don’t fit into typical physiological and functional considerations, such as older adults,” Herman explained. “I currently serve as ASCP’s student president-elect, and I recently attended the ASCP annual meeting, where I met the national president. That experience sparked my interest in getting more involved in ASCP, and I decided to apply for the CANO internship.”
AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
Herman began her internship in early June and one of her first projects was helping ASCP inform pharmacists about revised guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding long-term care surveyors for quality and care improvement.
“There were a number of significant changes being implemented related to antipsychotic prescribing, payroll data, infection prevention, substance use disorder and infection control that would affect pharmacists and those in skilled nursing facilities,” Herman explained.
During her internship, Herman also had the chance to write a variety of comment letters to legislators, including a letter highlighting how pharmacists can fill the gap in primary care.
“With the current shortage in primary care providers, myself and my fellow CANO intern did research to learn more about ways pharmacists nationwide are helping to fill basic gaps in primary care in their geographic areas,” Herman said. “In our letter to legislators we highlighted information on pharmacists’ potential roles in testing for sexually transmitted infections and prescribing appropriate therapies, as well as in prescribing statins and handling diabetes management. This project was by far my favorite of the internship.”
While in Washington D.C., Herman also had the chance to tour the offices of NCPA, PQA and the National Association of Chamber Drug Stores, where she got to meet other interns and organization representatives.
She says the internship offered an invaluable opportunity to learn about the intersection of pharmacy and government.
“As a future pharmacy owner, I will be advocating for both my patients and the pharmacy profession,” Herman explained. “Through this internship, I gained a better understanding of how legislators are advocating for pharmacy at the national level, the many bills related to pharmacy that are being passed and how the national pharmacy organizations work. This is all critical knowledge I can take with me that will help me be a better pharmacist, pharmacy advocate and patient care provider. I love learning, and I love taking advantage of opportunities, like this one, that will help me be more prepared for my future.”