Walker Leader Scholars recap the DC leadership trip
The Walker Leadership Scholars Program provides high capacity pharmacy student leaders at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy the opportunity to accelerate their leadership development through experiential learning and mentorship. Anna Todd and Meg Freiter traveled to DC to learn more about the legislative process, health policy, and the associations supporting the profession. This incredible experience began on Monday, when the scholars were invited to sit in on the Pharmacy HIT Collaborative meeting, which gathers pharmacy leaders to discuss ways the profession can incorporate and utilize technological advancements in practice. The Scholars then traveled to APhA headquarters with Executive Vice President and CEO, Tom Menighan, to have lunch and talk about APhA’s involvement. The APhA Government Affairs team walked Anna and Meg through important pharmacy policy issues to prepare them for their next day on Capitol Hill. The first day came to a close after a lovely dinner with Lucinda Maine, CEO of AACP, and Susan Winckler, a pharmacist turned lawyer who is currently Managing Partner of the Leavitt Partners, a firm that advises senior executive teams about health care developments, particularly the emerging role of value in health care.
On Capitol Hill the following day, Meg and Anna had the opportunity to sit down with Congressman Clyburn. The Congressman is a long time representative of South Carolina and a leader in the House. The Scholars also visited the offices of Senators Graham and Scott, where they met with staff to discuss how pharmacists can play an important role in the future of healthcare. Most exciting, perhaps, was a quick trip over to the White House where Meg and Anna sat down with Joe Grogan, director of health programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Aside from eye opening conversations with the gatekeeper of healthcare funding, the scholars got a surprise visit from the Director of the OMB, a former University of South Carolina graduate, Mick Mulvaney and a quick tour of the West Wing!
Yet another surprise came the following day, when former U of SC College of Pharmacy graduate, Lindsey Cobbs, secured a brief meeting with Congressman Carter, the only pharmacist in Congress. Congressman Carter was thrilled to hear from pharmacy students and offered great advice about ways to become involved in health policy. The week’s festivities came to a close after a lunch with another U of SC College of Pharmacy alumna, Diane McColl, who obtained her law degree after pharmacy school. This trip served as a powerful source of inspiration for Meg and Anna, as they were reminded of the responsibility they have as future pharmacists to always advocate for the profession and their patients.