Pharmacists for Healthier Lives-Lucinda Maine
HB: Alright, so today, we have a special guest on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast. Our guest is Lucinda Maine, who serves as Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. As the leading advocate for high quality pharmacy education, AACP works to develop strong academic scholars and leaders to support excellent professional doctoral and postgraduate degree programs and to build relations with key constituency groups both inside and external to the profession of pharmacy. Prior to assuming her current role, in July of 2002, Lucinda served as the Senior Vice President for Policy, Planning and Communications with APhA, or the American Pharmacists Association. Lucinda is a pharmacy graduate of Auburn University and received her doctorate at the University of Minnesota. She then served as a faculty member on the University of Minnesota’s team, where she practiced in the field of geriatrics and was an associate dean also at the Sanford University School of Pharmacy. She has been active in leadership roles both in and out of the pharmacy profession. Prior to joining the APhA staff, she served as speaker of the APhA House of Delegates and as an APhA trustee. She currently serves on the board of directors for Research America and is an executive committee member of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. She’s been honored with several prestigious awards, including the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Alumnus award, the Linwood Theis Friend of APhA/ASHP award, and the Gloria Niemeyer Frankie Leadership Mentor award from APhA. And this spring, in March of 2019, Lucinda will be receiving the Remington Honor Medal, which is the pharmacy profession’s highest honor presented annually by APhA. She has been a previous guest on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast. We first connected at the APhA annual meeting in 2018, and I couldn’t wait to have her back to share about the newest campaign that has launched in the end of 2018, Pharmacists for Healthier Lives. Lucinda, welcome back to the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast!
LM: Thanks so much, Hillary. Glad to be back.
HB: Well, Lucinda, we were talking a little bit last year about the Pharmacists for Healthier Lives, and I will tell you, when I first saw that launch, I believe on Facebook, it was just so exciting and so well done. Can you tell us a little bit more about what was the origin behind Pharmacists for Healthier Lives? It looks like there were maybe a couple of different stakeholders involved in creating this campaign.
LM: That’s absolutely right. The profession has known for a long time that the public really doesn’t fully grasp what the contemporary pharmacist is there to do with them and for them. But we’ve never mobilized a big enough campaign to make a dent in public opinion. And that’s probably not for a lack of talking about it. In fact, Crystal Weaver from NASPA says, if I had a dollar for every pharmacist who said, ‘You know what we need is we need a national public relations campaign,’ she laughs and she says, “I could have paid for this myself.” But this campaign really is a part of an AACP strategic plan that was approved by our House of Delegates in July of 2016. And the campaign is one of four overarching strategic priorities. And it goes in tandem with some work that we’re doing in a separate campaign, outreach to middle school, high school, college-age students to interest them specifically in careers in pharmacy. But this campaign is targeted toward a different demographic and an important demographic. That is largely you, yourself, as a woman in the what we like to call the suburban moms cohort, 35-55, plus caregivers, other individuals, men and women, who are slightly older than that who have been put into the position that so many of us have of having either a spouse or a parent or someone, a loved one, that needs their care and their support. And so we began talking about taking the leadership for a collaborative campaign, actually even before that plan was approved at meetings of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners. And we indicated that we were prepared to write an RFP, etc. to find a firm who could help us do the research and mount a campaign but that we knew we could not do it, should not do it alone because something like this had to be much more broadly supported by the profession. And so we were pleased at our official launch to have four other national organizations from around the JCPP table and now five state pharmacy associations who have become early partners in the campaign, and we are continuing, as I have said to my other colleagues, as long as there’s a campaign, it will never be too late to join, but it will be more fun if you joined earlier rather than later.
HB: That makes so much sense. Well, what would you say are some of the key messages associate with Pharmacists for Healthier Lives?
LM: Our research validated — and it was researched with the target audience and the general public, in addition to pharmacists and pharmacy students — it came back that our strongest suit is, not surprisingly, that pharmacists are accessible. We know that. We are the most accessible profession among all of the health professions. And that seemed to be resonant with the public in their responses. We also wanted them to recognize that pharmacists can take their excellent education and use it to help make sure that they achieve the best outcomes in their health. And it also seemed important to the public to emphasize that we don’t do that in isolation, that pharmacists are an essential member of the healthcare team.
HB: Yeah. No, that is really fascinating. And that is, it’s all about teamwork, so I’m glad that we were thoughtful enough that we kind of built our story as we’re part of and one of the key players and the most accessible healthcare professional and that we do that in partnership with other members of the care team. Very smart. So where can pharmacists find the campaign? I know I’ve seen it on Facebook and maybe on LinkedIn. And then maybe you could talk a little bit about how social media may have played a role in launching the initiative.
LM: Absolutely, yes. So Facebook and paid Facebook advertising was the predominant — so let me just back up a minute and say that we launched in mid-October. Very appropriately, American Pharmacists Month, and our campaign is designed to maximize paid media, earned media, so those stories that the press will pick up that we seed through the work of our campaign partners and agency, and owned media, and that would be our own and our partner-owned social media, all of them: Facebook, Twitter, etc. There is a landing page of a website, PharmacistsforHealthierLives.org, and that’s probably where I would direct your listeners to go, and they’ll find all of the messages, they’ll find that video that’s proven to be so powerful and other resources that they can use. And then like us. Like our Facebook page, like our Twitter or follow us on Twitter. And I think that will keep the pharmacists in the loop as we progress. We were in the field for five weeks from mid-October until just before Thanksgiving with the paid media. And we were just astonished with what we were able to do in that short period of time. There were almost 5 million people who we knew we reached in the target demographic. And those contacts had almost 10 million impressions, people watched the video, they went to the landing page, they clicked through. So there was a high level of engagement — highest, not surprisingly, among the caregiver demographic but also pretty good as well in that suburban moms group. And why them? They are the Chief Medical Officers of their family, not only taking care of themselves and their spouse, their children, but also increasingly helping their parents, grandparents, etc. navigate the wilderness of the healthcare system today.
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HB: So Lucinda, you shared a little bit about where we as pharmacists can go to find the campaign. There’s a landing page, PharmacistsforHealthierLives.org, but are there any other things that you would recommend pharmacists who are out in the field and interfacing with caregivers and, you know, moms, what should they be doing to help spread the message and actually live out that work in real life?
LM: That’s such an important question. And we recognize all of our campaign partners, AACP recognize that pharmacists on the front line are really challenged today more than they’ve ever been, you know, with the reimbursement situation and practice. It’s not limited to community practices. It’s everywhere in healthcare. And it’s easy to understand that it’s become more difficult to be that accessible healthcare practitioner, and I just acknowledge that with all respect. However, it is that interaction in the hometown pharmacy that will actually make the greatest difference because we’re telling the American public, you know, about this resource that’s right here, less than 5 miles from your home in over 90% of the households in America. And then if they don’t receive that level of accessible care, we’ve probably wasted our time and our money. But we do know that pharmacists do all that they possibly can to meet the needs of the public, and they do it in so many ways. So that is really the most important thing. That being said, we also want to work on some resources that can be disseminated through pharmacies. We are (inaudible) that have an interest in collaborating with us on the campaign. And one of the things we’re talking about is one of our higher priorities for 2019 is develop an interactive quiz for different levels of public understanding about health, about pharmacy services, about disease prevention and management, nutrition, etc. And we think that those, that could be deployed in a pharmacy waiting area on a tablet or iPad, and while the public is waiting, they can scroll through and take a test and find that to be very engaging, and then that will simulate actually other conversations with their pharmacist, so (inaudible). And I should mention that we are back in the field now. But after that first five weeks, we took a look at what we learned, tweaked our messages a little bit but not much because they seemed to work, and we’re back now in the field with an even more robust plan for the paid media for the next two months, two and a half months. And again, we’ll take a pause, and we’ll see what we’ve learned but just continue. We know that this is not a one-and-done. And so there will be new resources that will be most accessible through national associations, through the state partners and NASPA is one of those, the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations. And so all state associations are getting fed with material from the campaign, whether they’ve come forward and made a unique financial contribution or not. So you know, go to your state association, go to your national associations, be in conversation about this campaign. It’s so important that we get the public to fully appreciate what it is that pharmacists do. And I should mention one thing because I think pharmacists will feel really good about this. In the research that we did, one of the questions that was asked the general public was a favorability rating. And it was extremely favorable, very favorable, neutral, very unfavorable, and extremely unfavorable. The extremely favorable metric received 33% of the general public’s vote. And our agency said that that was amazing, that that number is very high. And when you couple extremely and very favorable, it’s at like 75%. So the agency said, “Why do they think they need to do the campaign?” Well, we know why we need to do this campaign. And the people who had the extremely favorable rating knew pharmacists did more than just dispense medicines. And that’s what we want to grow.
HB: Absolutely. And I love that you’re talking about other resources that are going to be available to help those on the frontlines to further engage the public and patients. But that’s really exciting to see that, you know, we always hear pharmacists are one of the most trusted healthcare professionals and that people are already experiencing a really positive interaction with their pharmacist. You mentioned that number of impressions and measuring how many people have seen, you know, eyeballs have seen the campaign. But are there any other indicators of success that you want to see from the campaign that might be measured from public perception or — tell me a little bit more about kind of what that general outcome that we’re hoping to see with Pharmacists for Healthier Lives.
LM: Yes, you’re right. So we’ll be — and one of the reasons why we’re using Facebook, quite frankly, is that they can give us such powerful statistics back on our reach and the impact. But it’s interesting because Gallup explains that they do use all of the same professions all of the time. Every once in awhile, they’ll put a new one in. And we were No. 1 forever, but that was before nurses were in. And this time, we’re essentially tied with physicians, which is great. But we would like to see that percentage of trusted answers rise back up where historically, it was a little bit higher than it is today. You know, with all of the attention of drug pricing, it’s not at all surprising because the public doesn’t really understand who’s responsible for, you know, what elements of drug prices. So and then I think another metric of great importance to us is our partnerships. If we can — and believe it or not, yes, we are in conversation with Johnson & Johnson, who has spent over $50 million over the last 15-17 years promoting nursing as a profession. We connected with them early on in our planning and asked to learn about their nursing work. And then we have had several J&J employees say, “You know what? It’s time for the company to help pharmacists.” And so we just need to close that conversation with a successful ask, definitive ask for their support. They wouldn’t have done the nursing campaign the same way if they started it today because when they started, they went into big TV advertising, Madison Avenue television advertising, and that’s expensive. And who watches TV commercials anymore? They wouldn’t do the campaign the same way if they were starting out fresh for nursing. They would use social as much as we are. So how we’ve been able to attract and retain key partners to keep the campaign fresh and going forward for the foreseeable future will be another really important measure for us.
HB: Very interesting. And that’s exciting that there are other key stakeholders that want to get involved and help support. So as our final question, we’ve already seen just earlier in January of 2019 that Ohio passed provider legislation for pharmacy. Where do you see the pharmacy profession heading with tools like this campaign in states beginning to adopt pharmacists as providers across the country?
LM: So I think that they are inextricably linked in the following way. So there will, even though the pharmacy provider coalition work did quite a lot of media. They did it for the most part inside the Beltway and in key legislators’ home districts versus to the general public. And that will be obviously very important in our legislative asks, but we know that unless the public understands that there’s something to ask for and if physicians don’t fully appreciate the partnership that they can construct with pharmacists to help their mutual patients use their medicines as safely and effectively as possible, we’re missing the demand component. Payment already exists out there for services that aren’t being demanded and therefore, aren’t being delivered. And so it really is essential that we grow the public understanding of what it is that today’s pharmacists stand ready to assist them with and how valuable those services can be as someone tries to keep themselves or a loved one as healthy and well as they possibly can.
HB: Love it. And that’s so wise that we’ve got to have a clear ask of what it is that we want. So I think that if that message is clear, we are well on our way, and we’ve got a really strong leadership team that is spearheading this public perception for us with this wonderful campaign. Lucinda, it was so great to have you as a guest on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast.
LM: Thanks. And we just have to close by reminding everyone who’s listening that pharmacists help people live healthier, better lives.
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