Ohio Pharmacists Association
Student Legislative Day
This is a great event to attend and is extremely informative while also giving you a chance to make a difference in policy. I chose to attend OPA’s Student Legislative Day, because OPA lays out a great format to provide you a platform to get in front of a state representative or senator and have a conversation. This opportunity is unique and also helps you grow as a person. During this event, I began to realize how imperative it is to take a stance somewhere within our profession and educate our legislators about the climate of pharmacy. Things aren’t always perfect in our profession and we should always be striving towards bettering our profession and environment that we work in. Not only for pharmacists and the people we work with, but also for the betterment of our patients. This event gave pharmacy students and pharmacists a great platform to express our views and speak to our state legislators.
By speaking to and persuading our legislators, we can change the law in order to better our profession and our patients. This may sound like a large objective in its entirety, but if we break it up into smaller tasks (even though today seemed like large one) then over time we can change the climate and the view of our profession. This starts with purely providing education on what we do. Many people do not know what a pharmacist truly does or provides to the public. Being able to go into a legislators office and speak to a story that we have had with a patient is huge. It sets the tone for how the profession provides for the public and also shows why our opinion matters. If we are unable to have resources to perform in our profession, it can take away from the public’s access to healthcare.
These are some points that we brought up to Charleta Tavares, our state senator, and Kristin Boggs, our state representative. A group of student pharmacists were able to go into each meeting and speak to the different experiences that we had and make an impact on Senator Tavares and Representative Boggs’ opinions. This seemed rather intimidating at first, however, when you think about it we are part of their constituents. They should want to hear what we have to say and take it into their own consideration. Having this thought in the back of our minds put nervousness at ease and allowed for a productive conversation between all involved. We spoke about the different bills that are in the House and Senate right now and how they would effect pharmacy. Senator Tavares and the aide for Representative Boggs (Representative Bogg’s had to miss our meeting for another commitment) were both very open to hearing what we had to say and using our conversations as educational points for each other.
It was a great interaction.I think that the main thing to take away from OPA’s Student Legislative Day, is that advocating for yourself, your profession, and our public is important. It may seem intimidating at first, but when you realize you are there to try to push the greater good, then it becomes an agenda that you can truly speak to. People are nice and most truly do want to help to make things better for the public as a whole. Putting yourself out there as an advocate helps build yourself personally and professionally and this event truly set you up for success. I’d like to thank OPA and everyone who helped put Student Legislative Day on. It was a success and truly a good time. If you would like to learn more, a link to a description of Student Legislative Day is posted below.