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The Southwest Iowa Pharmacists Association (SIPA) is based in Council Bluffs, Iowa, located in the southwest corner of the state. Council Bluffs is just across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska.

Association activities focus on professional development and community involvement. The membership consists of practicing and retired pharmacists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmaceutical company representatives from throughout southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska, and Missouri.  The association has surpassed 100 members for many years.

The board of directors is composed of up to nine pharmacists and four student representatives from each of the neighboring schools of pharmacy—the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy. Both schools are located in Omaha. The board meets monthly. The membership year begins in October and ends in September. General membership meetings, including continuing education programs, are held throughout the year.

SIPA has presented over 100 programs in the past 20 years. The programs emphasize the role of the pharmacist in disease states and medication therapy management. Program topics have included diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and cancer, among many others. Occasionally, programs focus on industry trends including managed care and the roles of pharmacists in the future healthcare environment. The association has been honored to have speakers from organizations including the American Pharmaceutical Association, the American Medical Association, the Presidential Health Care Reform Task Force, the Health Care Finance Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, The American Society for Pharmacy Law, and United Healthcare of the Midlands, Inc. From throughout the region, speakers have included representatives from the nearby schools of pharmacy, the state pharmacists associations of Iowa and Nebraska, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Nebraska State Patrol. From the political arena, speakers have included both Republican and Democratic leaders from both the Iowa Senate and House.

The organization sponsors the Lou Carta Scholarship, an annual scholarship for students in schools of pharmacy whose hometowns are located within 100 miles of Council Bluffs. The scholarship is named after Carta, who was one of the original founders of the association, and served as a board member for over 40 years. The scholarship was first awarded in 2000, and has been awarded annually since then.

In the political area, the membership has actively opposed the Average Manufacturers Price (AMP) structure proposed by congress. Several representatives of SIPA’s board met with Congressman Steve King (R-IA) to seek his support for HR 3140. This bill would help to improve the AMP model, and has been supported by several national pharmacy associations. In addition to the AMP bill, board representatives sought Congressman King’s support for the Prompt Payment Bill and the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act. Following the one-hour meeting held just after Labor Day in 2007, Congressman King agreed to support all three bills. SIPA has communicated with many local and national elected leaders over the years. Click here to read letters and emails to and from local and national legislators.

In the academic area, members helped to develop the non-traditional doctor of pharmacy academic program at Creighton. We introduced our association to students enrolled in the web-based doctor of pharmacy program at Creighton. In the mid-1990’s, the association developed and coordinated “The Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Challenge” which was implemented by several Midwest schools of pharmacy. The program encouraged student-practitioner interaction with an emphasis on leadership, and was supported by an educational grant provided by Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Aventis.) The association has actively supported student programs including the ASP midyear regional meeting and past leadership receptions between board members and student leaders.

The membership has been active with Iowa pharmacy at the state level. Members have served as trustees and delegates of IPA. In addition, members have attended IPA’s Professional Development Conference and the Young Pharmacists Leadership Conference. The association encourages attendance at the IPA Pharmacy Nights that are often held in Council Bluffs. In 1997, the association helped to coordinate the annual meeting of the Iowa Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, which was held in Council Bluffs.

In August of 2005, SIPA assisted the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) in coordinating its Medicare forum held in Council Bluffs. The program, titled “The New Medicare Benefit”, attracted 445 audience members from all parts of Iowa, Nebraska, and neighboring states. United States Congressman Lee Terry, of eastern Nebraska, attended and made a presentation. This forum, one of many presented by NCPA throughout the country, was the best attended of all of NCPA’s Medicare forums. Its audience size surpassed all other program sites, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

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