Texas Pharmacy Congress

Working Together for Texas Pharmacists

August 20-21, 2013 25th Anniversary Meeting
hosted by The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX
Texas Pharmacy Congress Celebrates 25 Years
article by The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy staff writer Vicki Matustik

The Texas Pharmacy Congress, an organization born to encourage collaboration and sharing among its member institutions, celebrates 25 years of success in 2013.

The Congress was a novel concept in 1988 when three friends (James Doluisio, dean of the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy; Fred Brinkley, executive director of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy; and Luther Parker, head of the Texas Pharmacy Association) gathered for lunch to discuss the value of resolving differences and working collectively. 

On Aug. 10, 1988, a total of 16 Texas pharmacy leaders met on the UT Austin campus at the invitation of Doluisio, and the Congress was formed.  Today, with a quarter century of history under its belt, the Congress is a model for pharmacy leaders throughout the country who are working to identify common ground through communication and cooperation in a profession that has successfully branched into many areas of specialization.  The first joint meeting of Texas pharmacy organizations included the Texas Federation of Drug Stores, the Texas Pharmacy Association, the Texas Society of Hospital Pharmacists (now the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists), the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, and the three existing colleges of pharmacy at the time – Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, and The University of Texas at Austin. 

For its 25-year history, the Congress has met quarterly each year with member organizations taking turns hosting the Congress.  In that time, membership has expanded to include the addition of four new pharmacy schools including Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy (1994), Texas A&M University Health Science Center Irma Rangel College of Pharmacy (2001), the University of the Incarnate Word Feik School of Pharmacy (2006), and the University of North Texas College of Pharmacy (2013). 

Jennifer Ridings-Myhra was asked by Dean Doluisio to attend the first meeting and serve as organizer.  She has remained in leadership within the Congress throughout its history. She cited several significant initiatives of the Congress over the course of its history including a public relations campaign called Texas Pharmacists United in Patient Care in the 1990s and an interdisciplinary gathering of healthcare professionals called Summit 2000: Better Medication Outcomes through Healthcare Collaboration.

In addition, Congress membership worked together to successfully gain approval, develop and implement TxPHARM, a cooperative nontraditional Pharm.D. degree program targeted as Texas pharmacists practicing under a B.S. degree program who were interested in earning the new Pharm.D. degree.

"On an ongoing basis, we suggest enhancements to the Texas Pharmacy Practice Act, respond to critical professional issues as they arise, and develop and implement a vision for pharmacy practice in Texas to move the profession forward," she said.  "We have also provided the foundation for formation of other consortia in Texas, such as the Joint Committee on Internship Programs, the Texas Pharmacy Practice Coalition, the Texas Patient Safety Alliance, and the Program Assessment Team.  Not bad for a group founded simply on a handshake with no formal organizational status and no official meeting minutes."

At an August celebration of the group's 25th anniversary, Ridings-Myhra summed up the success of the Congress, "You have united to encourage and support projects and people.  You have occasionally inflamed each other's passions, and at times have questioned our existence.  You have impacted each other personally and empowered each other professionally, and you have consistently impressed me with your enthusiasm, and inspired me with your unwavering and unquestionable love of this profession."

"Pharmacy unity has been a goal for so long in our profession, and often, it's been an elusive goal, but in Texas, we got it right," said Doluisio in his keynote address at the August event.  Twenty-five years of great service to Texas pharmacy – the best example of pharmacy unity in the country."
Click on this link to see a video of 25th anniversary reflections by James T. Doluisio, founder of the Texas Pharmacy Congress:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACenT_W4l10&feature=youtu.be
Click below to view member organization reports for this meeting.