New Name, Same Organization.

From the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) to the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP)

In 2022, our 25th year, the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) will be renamed the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP). This change aligns the organization’s name with our mission to advance the reach and practice of psychiatric pharmacy and serve as the voice of the specialty. The name change reinforces our vision, as outlined in the 2022 Vision Paper (“Positioning Psychiatric Pharmacists to Improve Mental Health Care”), which clearly sets the Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist (BCPP) credential as the gold standard for psychiatric pharmacists and supports psychotropic medication management by a BCPP as the standard of care for patients.

Read the announcement.

What factors led to the decision to change the name of the organization from College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists to the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists?

Our members overwhelmingly describe themselves as psychiatric, not neurologic pharmacists. Driven by the many contributions and leadership of our members over the course of our existence, the organization has prominently established itself as the voice of psychiatric pharmacists, with substantial external-facing educational materials for policymakers and other tools focused on pharmacy, mental health, and substance use.

For many years, we were challenged, specifically through our government affairs and professional affairs efforts, to present clarity, focus, and credibility to external stakeholders. The new name provides a clarity of purpose that will enhance advocacy efforts, streamline planning strategies, and effectively serve our members with focus and passion.

It is important that the organization is authentic. Having “neurologic” in the association’s name, with limited advocacy, public affairs activities, practice resources, or significant programming concentrated in this area, creates confusion about who the organization represents. To flourish as an organization, we must be focused and consistent in our messaging and accurate in the representation of our membership. The change will support the organization’s continued growth and vitality while targeting the use of limited resources most effectively.

Changing the name of the organization has been discussed many times since our founding. Why now?

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, expanding access to BCPPs, and supporting the attainment of the BCPP credential by pharmacists caring for patients living with mental health conditions.

CPNP’s 2025 Strategic Plan is very aggressive and includes a large percentage of external-facing advocacy efforts as well as continuation of all of our current efforts. This represents a substantial shift from not only serving CPNP members, but also increasingly advocating for the advancement of the profession. As such, the Board has made a significant financial investment and commitment to developing external-facing initiatives, including an Interprofessional Advisory Board and an employer resource center. Additionally, the organization has added two new staff in 2022 to provide support to these new initiatives and increase focus in the area of advocacy. The new name provides clarity surrounding who we represent to leaders, decision makers, and policymakers that influence the practice of our members with the goal to expand our reach and effectiveness.

What was the process undertaken by the Board to make this decision?

During the 2020-2021 strategic planning process, the 20-member strategic planning committee evaluated whether neurology should continue to be given prominence in the organization’s name. The result of these discussions was a recommendation to engage in a studied and measured process to evaluate a potential name change for the organization to more accurately reflect its membership and mission.

Over the last two years, we surveyed members, interviewed partner associations and other stakeholders, met with founding members, and engaged CPNP Past Presidents and leaders in valuable and honest discussions. Additionally, research was conducted on the naming protocols used by hundreds of health care professional societies and associations in the United States. At its recent retreat, the Board of Directors unanimously approved a name change to the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists.

How was the name, the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP), selected?

The name selection was informed through both qualitative and quantitative research. The naming templates of hundreds of health care professional societies were evaluated to identify standard naming configurations. Ten naming options were selected and tested with the leadership and member focus groups. The Board evaluated all input and feedback and the name American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP) was unanimously selected.

Will the organization lose the value of its name recognition with this change, particularly within external stakeholders?

Leadership and staff will be proactive, deliberate, and intentional to ensure that all stakeholders, both internal and external, are made aware of the name change to AAPP. There will be an extensive public relations campaign and extended period of time where external parties will be reminded of the transition to AAPP from CPNP. Although CPNP enjoys some degree of name recognition, the public relations campaign related to the name change will both minimize the loss among current connections and also maximize the awareness among broader audiences.

Isn’t neurology integrally connected to psychiatry? How will the organization continue to ensure members have access to education in this area?

Our members focus on improving medication-related outcomes for people living with psychiatric disorders. The practice of psychiatric pharmacy is integrally connected to many critical areas of practice. It is undisputed that the foundational knowledge of neurology is critical and complementary to the practice of psychiatric pharmacy. Psychiatric disorders are interwoven in many neurologic diagnoses, such as epilepsy, migraines, some developmental disabilities, movement disorders, and neurocognitive disorders. As such, AAPP will continue to provide educational offerings in neurology as well as the other critical areas of practice in which psychiatric pharmacists must be knowledgeable and skilled.

When will this change take place?

During the 1st quarter of 2022, the organization will work to communicate this change to members and other internal stakeholders. The name change will be announced more broadly during the summer and fall of 2022. AAPP will operationally implement the name change throughout its products, services, and communications by the end of 2022.

How should I reference my membership affiliation in my CV and on social media such as Linked In?

To help cement recognition and adoption of the new name, members are encouraged to update their CV's and social media profiles to reflect the new name. The recommended format is: American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (formerly CPNP). 

Will the membership have an opportunity to vote on this name change?

The decision to change the name of the organization is within the purview of the Board and has been finalized. The decision was finalized after an in-depth review of insights and feedback shared by members via surveys and focus groups, including past presidents and founding members. In early 2023, the membership will vote on several changes to the organization’s bylaws to modernize them and ensure they mirror current operations. The bylaws will include changes to reflect the name change to AAPP.

Does this name change affect my membership and the products and services that I access?

No. AAPP will continue to offer all the valuable services that you have come to expect from your professional association. AAPP will provide all the same important educational opportunities and programs, including neurology educational activities for the psychiatric pharmacist. We will be greatly expanding our advocacy and external outreach efforts on behalf of the profession, as guided by our strategic plan.

How does the name change impact student chapters?

Student chapters will be required to change their name. During the summer of 2022, staff and Student Committee will be working to update chapter documents. In early fall, we will host informational meetings to assist chapters in the chapter renaming process at the local level.

To whom can I address comments and questions?

CPNP held a virtual information session for members on February 14, 2022. At this session, the Board presented information on the name change decision and timeline. Members are able to view a recording of the presentation.

You can direct emails to the Board of Directors at Executive Director Brenda Schimenti or a member of the Board will respond to your inquiry. You can also reach Executive Director Brenda Schimenti at 402-476-1677 or CPNP does not conduct business on the CPNP email list given that its purpose is for members to share information and questions related to the profession and patient care. Please utilize the communication vehicles offered above to share any questions or comments. The organization is dedicated to engaging with members regarding this exciting transition to AAPP.