Grice Makes University History as Speaker of the House for AACP
Published on 05 February 2021
In July 2020, Gloria Grice, Pharm.D., FNAP, BCPS, interim chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, professor of pharmacy practice and assistant dean of curriculum and assessment, made University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis history as the first faculty member to serve in a leadership role for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) when she was elected speaker of the house.
AACP is structured as a democratic organization with decision-making vested in a house of delegates, a board of directors and the Office of the Executive Vice President.
The house comprises two representatives from each college of pharmacy for a total of 290 delegates, meets annually and is responsible for the adoption of educational policies for the association.
Additionally, the board of directors consists of three presidential officers, the speaker of the house, the treasurer, three representatives of school administrations, three representatives of school faculties, three representatives of AACP sections and the executive vice president. The board authorizes policy and program implementation.
The speaker of the house is the only leadership role elected by only the House of Delegates and includes speeches delivered during the two house sessions held over the course of the AACP annual meeting.
"The speaker of the house serves in two roles," Grice said. "They serve as a member of the board and executive board and preside over house sessions where their duties include facilitating discussions and assisting with the voting process. Behind the scenes, the speaker updates delegates on upcoming resolutions for consideration and policies, and helps maintain rules and regulations for the organization while working with other standing committees."
Running for speaker of the house was not something that Grice had ever considered until the summer of 2019 when she put forth a resolution to encourage the role of the pharmacist in the diagnostic process within the pharmacy curriculum — a resolution Grice was passionate about but knew would potentially create lots of opposition.
"I was intrigued by the speaker position because I really enjoyed the process of writing the resolution," Grice reflected. "There is something about policy that is exciting to me because it influences the direction we are headed. The whole process of writing it, working with the speaker of the house, submitting it and presenting and defending it — all of it really inspired me."
Though Grice entered the election through an atypical pathway, not having served on the Bylaws and Policy Development Committee, she was encouraged by colleagues and President of the University John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAPhA, FFIP, former AACP speaker of the house, to pursue her passion.
Grice submitted her application in February 2020 and was notified in April that she was one of the two candidates slated by the nominations committee.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the AACP annual meeting was held virtually which required Grice and the other candidate to prerecord the speeches they would have delivered at the two house sessions. The first speech covered the candidate’s experience, while the second speech focused on why the candidate was interested in the role and what they wanted to do as speaker of the house.
The speeches aired live to all delegates who then had several days to vote. After a week of waiting for the results, Grice received a call from Lucinda Maine, Ph.D., executive vice president and CEO of AACP.
"I was beyond excited," Grice glowed. "The opportunity to work with such a great group of leaders and make a meaningful impact on the profession and academic pharmacy is just so exciting. And to be the second woman speaker and youngest speaker to be elected in the history of the organization is a great honor."
Grice will be sworn in as speaker of the house in July 2021 at the AACP annual meeting to be held in Toronto and will serve a 3-year term.