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CPNP Foundation enjoys featuring donors who exemplify the values of the Foundation through their dedication to evidence-based care, commitment to meeting the needs of patients living with psychiatric and neurologic disorders and their families, and through their sustained support. In this issue of Kaleidoscope, we feature Ann Richards, PharmD, BCPP who was a Founding Member of CPNP (1998), a CPNP Past President (2009-2010), and a Founding Circle member of the CPNP Foundation (2011). The CPNP Foundation Board of Directors thanks Dr. Richards for her dedication to psychiatric pharmacy which she continues to sustain even in her retirement years. We caught up with Dr. Richards about her career and the impact that CPNP and the CPNP Foundation had on her career and life.

Dr. Richards, what led you to pursue psychiatric pharmacy?

“While obtaining my PharmD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy, my first clinical rotation was in psychiatric pharmacy at the VA in Omaha, NE with Dr. Sam Shillcutt. Dr. Shillcutt was highly respected on the unit and was able to incorporate the neurobiology of disease into the clinical setting. Observing him in this setting showed me career potential in psychiatric pharmacy. During this rotation, I had an opportunity to visit a facility with dedicated units for the treatment of individuals with Huntington Chorea. Due to unexpected schedule changes by the College of Pharmacy, I was able to complete an elective in psychiatric pharmacy with Dr. Jim Wilson at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute. This allowed me to work under a clinician that was passionate about the care of patients with mental illness. Through persistence, I was allowed to complete a third rotation in psychiatric pharmacy at the VA Day Hospital. This setting allowed me to see a clinician’s impact on patient lives.”

What was your first position in psychiatric pharmacy?

“After my residency, my first position was with The University of Texas College of Pharmacy. After residency, I married and moved to the San Antonio area and was very fortunate to have Dr. Larry Ereshefsky create a part-time position that was based at the San Antonio State Hospital. I was very fortunate to work closely with Larry Ereshefsky, Steve Saklad, and Michael Jann.”

How did CPNP and the CPNP Foundation impact your career?

“Both CPNP and CPNPF allowed me the opportunity to serve in a leadership position and learn the nuances of running an organization. I was able to take these global skills and apply them to my leadership position as the Pharmacy Director for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation which has since evolved into Texas Health and Human Services Commission Health and Specialty Care System. CPNP has served as a valuable resource over the years, whether it is the listserv, their useful tools, or continuing education for maintaining board certification. The networking opportunities are unlimited and have provided me with contacts throughout the country who face similar problems as state hospitals.”

Which CPNP Foundation initiative most motivates you?

“As a student, it was a challenge to have the financial resources to attend national meetings. Therefore, the student support is my primary motivator. Seeing a high number of students at the CPNP Annual Meeting is exciting. Their enthusiasm, dedication to caring for patients, and their desire to do the right thing, tells me that the psychopharmacy services we provide will continue to have a major impact on patient lives.”

What prompted you initially to donate to the CPNP Foundation, and what continues to motivate you to support the Foundation, given all of the other charitable organizations and pharmacy-related Foundations in existence?

“The idea of improving care for our patients was my initial motivation to donate to the Foundation. Improving skills of local community pharmacists who then can provide additional care to individuals with mental disorders to not only improve care but, in some ways, decreases stigma associated with mental illness is another strong motivator.”

To become a CPNP Foundation donor, give online at https://cpnpf.org/pledge.

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