Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 2017 - Residency and Wenstrup

It is a busy year once again and the period between ASHP Mid-year and Christmas seems to pass in a blink of the eye. In trying to keep balance between parental responsibilities, occupational demands, social expectations, spousal relationship development and still get in a showing of the new Star Wars movie, there is little time for anything else.  However wanted to put a quick update here that the 2018-19 PGY2 Residency page has been updated with links to the program brochure and deadline. Unfortunately, there are a couple places on the web that list old application deadline dates. The deadline for Phorcas applications is January 13th, 2018 (as listed in Phorcas). Since that is a Saturday, applications may not be reviewed until the following Monday, however must still be submitted by the 6:59 pm EST deadline to be reviewed.

In other news, yesterday presented the opportunity to have met Congressman and US Army Colonel Brand Wenstrup. The Cincinnati native, gave an engaging speech presenting a narrative of his experience this past June in Alexandria, Va where House Majority Steve Scalise was shot during the Congressional baseball practice. Wenstrup who was a combat surgeon in Iraq, was able to come to the aid of Scalise and apply a life-saving tourniquet to his gunshot wound prior to being treated at local hospital. Beyond this instant of heroism,Wenstrup has a track record of doing the right thing and demonstrating good will towards others. Thus, I was elated to have been able to meet and shake hands after the formalities of the event we were attending.

There was even a brief moment to discuss one of pieces of legislature that Wenstrup is sponsoring that directly effects psychiatric pharmacy. In the House of Representatives, Wenstup currently serves on the Committee on Veterans' Affairs where he is the Chairman on the Subcommittee on Health. Mr. Wenstrup introduced H.R. 1662 in May 2017.  This Bill proposes to bring the VA to the same standard as other modern medical campuses and all other federal building by 100% eliminating tobacco from all VA campuses.  Currently, VA's are locked into an old public health rule that requires they provide a designated smoking shelter on all federally owned campuses. While the older legislature prevents tobacco use within VA hospitals, it also prevents modernization to be 100% tobacco free like most non-VA medical centers have now adopted. The repeal of the 1992 Veterans Health Care Act (Staggers Amendment), which mandates allowing use of tobacco on VA campuses in designated areas, is a long overdue initiative.

Psychiatric pharmacists working at VA's should prepare to discuss the details and rational with veterans whom they have contact. There likely will be many concerns and questions regarding the new rules. Additionally, psychiatric pharmacists should be prepared to offer tobacco treatment as tobacco use can often be a deeply personal and emotional struggle. Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans each year (equivalent to 2 jumbo jets per day worth of fatalities) . Psychiatric pharmacists are positioned in a unique way to be leaders in addressing both pharmacological and cognitive-behavioral aspects of treatment.

Mr. Wenstrup reports he expects the Bill to move forward sometime in early 2018. With the current political climate and initiatives overshadowing the importance of this Bill, I hope it will indeed make headway early next year. If you have time and also believe this legislature is important, please write your representatives encouraging them to take action on this Bill quickly.     

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CPNP Annual Meeting

It was a great meeting out in Arizona last month.  There was much to be happy with for this years annual meeting. Will give a quick run down of the things that were great about this years meeting.

First, Phoenix is a wonderful city to host the meeting. The weather there in spring is perfect meeting weather (or for hiking, camping, city exploring or almost any outdoor activity). Yes, it gets warm but that nice dry Arizona warm that doesn't leave you feeling soggy and gritty. Wearing formal men's wear and walking a few city blocks to the meeting location was not problem. The city itself is situated only minutes from the airport, making it incredibly easy to fly in and out. Since Frontier operates there it is relatively inexpensive to travel from Cincinnati. Was able to nab air for less than 200 dollars round trip including a checked bag. This trip used Uber to get to my hotel but know from past experience that the car rental garage located at the airport is equally easy to utilize.

Lets be honest, the meeting is reason for travel but the location is much of the draw. Phoenix has plenty to attract worldly seekers. Foodies have plenty to taste and sample in the city with lots of local southwest influence and straight American city fine dinning too. Other city and cultural attractions include Heard Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, and the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve to name a few.

For those that just want to get out of the city and explore the desert there is also plenty to do both for brief hiking interludes and extended adventures. The Apache Trail is at least a half-day of scenic desert mountain that requires a full tank of gas and a car capable of unpaved road. Our compact rental did just fine on the trail in 2008. For a challenging hike but beautiful hike, Camelback mountain is only minutes away from the city center. It can be done in half a day, but if you don't mind skipping the peak you can hike for as long as you have time.

If you can manage a few extra days in Arizona, then driving to Sedona is mandatory. Plenty of moderate hikes that are full of breath-taking scenery. Sedona has enough to do that you could stay for as long as you have money. Good food, incredible art, outdoor activities, spas and just plain relaxation. There are other excursions from Sedona to visit an old mining town and preserved Palatki cliff dwellings. If more time allows then a visit to Prescott, Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon could be in order.  Obviously, the Grand Canyon could demand a little more time, but it is possible to visit the south rim briefly and come back another time for more thorough explorations. We did hike 95% of the Bright Angel Trail in a single day back in 2008 (when younger in our peak physical shape) but I would not recommend. If ever done again would not attempt hiking from rim to river and back in a single day, although some in top condition run this route.

As for the meeting it also was an amazing success and incredibly well done. The CPNP programming committee did an outstanding job to put on a stimulating and thought generating agenda. The programming for trainees continues to grow and there is a new mentoring program for clinicians to meet with trainees and provide some perspective and guidance. The technical aspects of utilization of technology was the best I have ever seen for a large conference. When visiting the meeting website, it would automatically take you to the programming that was currently active to minimize need for searching/scrolling to find slides and evaluations. The CPNP staff did an outstanding job with not only the interactive web design but providing outstanding organization in all other aspects of the meeting as well. Thanks to Vanessa, Greg and Brenda for all the work they do for the organization in pulling off another great meeting.

If time allows I will come back to review individual programming, but until then will just leave the link to closing key-note speaker from another venue/date.