What an exciting and productive year we have just concluded and we are well underway in planning for an even more robust year in 2017. Under the leadership of William (Bill) E. Evans, 2016 Chair of BPS and William (Bill) Ellis, Executive Director of BPS, remarkable progress was made partnering with the profession to position BPS as an organization to serve as the Umbrella organization for Board Certification for the Pharmacy Profession. Late in 2016, the Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy (CCGP) dissolved and the Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (CGP) credential transitioned to the BPS portfolio of pharmacist specialist certifications. The new BCGP credential joins the profession’s current board specialties of Ambulatory Care, Critical Care, Nuclear Pharmacy, Nutrition Support Pharmacy, Oncology Pharmacy, Pediatrics Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapy and Psychiatric Pharmacy. At the end of 2016 we now have over 30,000 board certified pharmacists nationally and internationally.

In order to manage this essential program for the profession, develop innovative improvements, increase the number of board certified pharmacists, and grow the number of recognized specialties, it requires a dedicated BPS staff, a committed governance board, volunteer practitioners for each of the specialty councils, advisory committees, and other advocates for the profession. This dedication comes from twelve BPS staff, thirteen Board members, nine specialty councils of nine members each, two Board advisory committees (International Advisory Committee and Employer Advisory Committee) with twelve members each, and various assembled ad hoc groups working on developing new BPS specialties. It is estimated that the total number of pharmacists and other healthcare professionals associated with the BPS organization is over 200 volunteers, all dedicated to the mission of the profession.

What is in store for 2017? As mentioned, it will be a robust year of activity continuing the maintenance and growth of our nine specialties. In addition, the Board anticipates a decision on the approval of the Cardiology and Infectious Diseases Specialty petitions. If approved, this will prompt the development of specialty councils for item writing and exam development with a goal of administering the first exams in Fall 2018. In addition, there will be continued development of potential specialties in Sterile Compounding, Solid Organ Transplantation, and Emergency Medicine. This will occur through role delineation studies and petition review. The BPS Board will also be active in maintaining our National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Accreditation status as well as apply for accreditation under the ISO 17024 Standards which is an international standard for credentialing organizations.

Last but not least, your BPS Board of Directors has been working on an evolution of the certification exam format in order to be innovative and cutting edge while being psychometrically sound. Future exam concepts that include a virtual patient care environment are being investigated. Who knows where advanced computer assessments will go or whether virtual reality situations will develop into assessment mechanisms? While implementation of such reality based exams would not be implemented for several years, it is critical that these assessment tools be investigated for the profession.

Thus, it will be an exciting year for the BPS Board as we work collectively to demonstrate the unique value of board certification and the contributions of Board Certified Pharmacists to the profession and patient care. I urge everyone to consider participating in these developments with BPS as we continue to do our part for our profession’s practice advancement. Step up and join your colleagues in helping BPS be a partner with the profession. After all, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties have been improving patient care by promoting the recognition and value of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and specialty board certification of pharmacists since 1976.

Harold N. Godwin, RPh., MS. FASHP, FAPhA

Godwin is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy. He currently serves as Chair and member of the Board of Directors for the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). Previously he was Professor and Associate Dean of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas. He has served as President of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), President of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacy (ASHP), and President of the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (now the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) (ACPE).