Dear CPNP Members:
We, the Board of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP), are excited to announce that, in 2022, our 25th year, CPNP will be renamed the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP). The new name is the result of a studied and measured process and provides a clarity of purpose that will enhance our substantially increased advocacy efforts, streamline our planning strategies, and allow us to proceed with passion, focus, and authenticity into the next 25 years.
This name change reflects the empowerment we gain from our past and our focus on the future. Notably, 2022 marks 50 years since the first psychiatric pharmacy residency was established. In 1996, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) administered the first exam allowing pharmacists to earn the Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist (BCPP) credential. And in 1998, more than 100 pharmacists came together to form CPNP.
Now the specialty is coming into its own. The growth of psychiatric pharmacists has been substantial. Currently, there are 100 postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) psychiatric pharmacy residency positions, over 1,450 BCPPs, nearly 3,000 CPNP members, and thousands of other pharmacists focused on expanding their psychiatric education. Psychiatric pharmacists are heavily engaged in expanded roles in all health care settings and infuse critical expertise into the health care team. The organization must be laser-focused on the growth and development of BCPPs and support the attainment of BCPP certification by pharmacists caring for patients with mental health conditions to provide expanded patient access to BCPPs.
The transition to AAPP also aligns with change in the external environment that has created opportunities for psychiatric pharmacists. The COVID-19 pandemic has both exacerbated the mental health crisis and demonstrated the impact of pharmacists, thus opening unique opportunities within the national dialogue to expand our roles in the health care system. Accordingly, the bulk of the CPNP 2025 Strategic Plan is externally focused, including advocacy, research, and efforts to secure payment for services provided by BCPPs.
With all these combined forces, we find ourselves at an inflection point as an organization, and we are ready to meet the moment with passion, focus, and authenticity.
We are passionate about our patients and the impact we have on their care and outcomes. We are redoubling our investment in advocating for psychiatric pharmacists. We have added one new advocacy staff member, several new committees, and dozens of volunteer member positions to create tools and information that clearly communicate what psychiatric pharmacists do and the value they bring to health care teams. We have also added a new staff member to expand our education and resources for the next wave of psychiatric pharmacists. The addition of the two new staff members represents 50% growth in CPNP staff and the first new staffers in nearly a decade. All these efforts will bring new data and insights, but we are not waiting to find the perfect piece of evidence of our value. Instead, our passion demands that our voice as psychiatric pharmacists be heard now by representatives and policymakers as well as by other mental health professionals, administrators, and payers. The clarity of the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists’ name amplifies that voice.
To accomplish our mission and fulfill our vision, we must be intensely focused. We created a detailed Vision Paper, Positioning Psychiatric Pharmacists to Improve Mental Health Care, to provide a roadmap for members and partners, which will be distilled and incorporated into all our messaging. Our message is centered on the premise that the gold standard for psychiatric pharmacists is the BCPP credential and that psychotropic medication management by a BCPP should be the standard of care for patients.
We know that many of our members are making an impact without the BCPP credential, and we continue to celebrate those contributions to improving mental health. Yet only by focusing on a clear, concise, and compelling message can we ever expect to be heard through all the noise.
Finally, we must represent our membership with authenticity. CPNP educates and advocates for psychiatric pharmacists. CPNP members have over 400 different job titles, however, the vast majority identify as psychiatric pharmacists. CPNP’s name conveyed that we could speak for neurologic pharmacists as a specialty, but we have not. CPNP’s name conveyed that we were educating neurologic pharmacists as specialists, but our neurologic education has been designed for psychiatric pharmacists. We know there is an inherent connection between psychiatry and neurology, and we hope that clinical pharmacists will be empowered to have a major impact in neurology. However, it is important that the organization is transparent and clear about who we represent and have represented during the life of our organization.
AAPP will provide all the same important educational opportunities and programs it has in the past, including neurology programming for the psychiatric pharmacist. AAPP will continue to openly welcome all members and attendees, including international pharmacists, neurologic pharmacists, nurses, administrators, and any of the hundreds of other roles our members fulfill.
This is an extremely exciting time for our profession and our professional organization. We are immensely grateful for all those who came before us to establish this specialty and this organization. Their efforts prepared us to be part of the conversation at this pivotal moment in the evolution of mental health care. The clarity of our role as an organization and who we represent will magnify the impact of our efforts in the coming years. All of this starts with passion, focus, and authenticity—in this moment.
We know you will meet this moment with us.