UGA Student Advocacy Leads Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to Recognize October as American Pharmacists Month

To celebrate the contributions of pharmacists throughout the state, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has issued a proclamation designating October 2023 as American Pharmacists Month. The proclamation, which highlights the crucial role of pharmacists in healthcare, comes as a result of advocacy efforts from the UGA College of Pharmacy’s local chapter of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), spearheaded by Lauren Baugh, the chapter’s Vice President of Policy.

“Especially after administering millions of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew that Georgia pharmacists deserved recognition for their tireless and selfless work,” said Baugh, who drafted the proclamation text and worked directly with the Governor’s Office to get the official document issued. “The Governor’s proclamation affirms the value that all pharmacy personnel bring to the healthcare ecosystem and demonstrates just how important the voice of student pharmacists can be in raising awareness of the importance of the profession.”

For faculty advisor Dr. Lindsey Welch, the proclamation is yet another example of how passionately the College’s local APhA-ASP chapter celebrates pharmacists. “Advocacy for the profession of pharmacy is a priority of our APhA-ASP chapter. For more than two decades, APhA-ASP has led Pharmtoberfest, our annual health fair that serves hundreds of members of the UGA and Athens community, during American Pharmacists Month. It’s exciting and fitting that, as we gear up to host this year’s Pharmtoberfest on October 19, our students’ advocacy efforts can be recognized in this way. We thank Governor Kemp for his support of pharmacy in the state of Georgia and celebrate our pharmacist colleagues across the state and nation.”

American Pharmacists Month (APhM), which is sponsored nationally by APhA, recognizes the indispensable work pharmacists perform to improve individual patient care and overall population health and well-being. Both this year’s APhM theme, Your Pharmacist: Improving Health. Increasing Access, and Governor Kemp’s proclamation speak to the fact that pharmacists are one of the most trusted and accessible health professionals, with nearly 90% of the U.S. population living within 5 miles of their closest pharmacy. Indeed, recent research from UGA College of Pharmacy’s Drs. Rebecca Stone and Blake Johnson published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA) demonstrates that, because community pharmacies are so well distributed throughout the state, almost 95% of all counties in Georgia could experience a more than 50% increase in primary care access points by better leveraging pharmacists and the valuable services they offer.

The APhA-ASP chapter also received a proclamation from Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz, specifically recognizing the role that the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy has had in developing the next generation of patient advocates and medication experts not just locally but throughout the state and beyond. “Together, these two proclamations demonstrate the impact of both our College and pharmacists everywhere. From safely and effectively managing complex medication regimens to vaccinating patients and promoting adherence, pharmacists make positive changes every day in their communities, and we’re beyond appreciative of Governor Kemp’s and Mayor Girtz’s recognition and celebration of the profession,” said Dean Kelly Smith.

Editor’s Note: Save the date—this year’s Pharmtoberfest, the College’s largest health fair, is just a few weeks away! Swing by the DW Brooks Mall in front of Pharmacy South and Wilson Pharmacy on Thursday, October 19, from 11am – 2pm for free health screenings, immunizations, educational activities, more than 20 booths from student organizations, food, fun, and more! Mayor Kelly Girtz will be in attendance at the beginning of the event to officially present his proclamation recognizing October as American Pharmacists Month in Athens-Clarke County.

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