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Letter to the Editor   |    
Psychiatric Pharmacists
SARA GRIMSLEY AUGUSTIN, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P.; TALIA PUZANTIAN, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P.; CHARLES F. CALEY, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P.; PATRICIA A. MARKEN, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P.; ANN L. RICHARDS, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P.; GARY M. LEVIN, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P.
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:2090-2090. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.12.2090

To the Editor: There are currently 352 board-certified psychiatric pharmacists working collaboratively in academic and clinical settings in the United States, Canada, and Australia to optimize the care of patients with psychiatric illnesses. Their number continues to grow as more pharmacists attain this credential. I wish to inform providers of care in the mental health community about the certification process for psychiatric pharmacists so they may better understand the contributions that such pharmacists can make to patient care.

Pharmaceutical specialties are established by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties, an independent nongovernmental agency created by the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1976. The pursuit of specialty status for psychiatric pharmacists began in the 1980s. The executive summary of the petition for recognition of psychiatric pharmacy as a specialty was published in 1991 (1); designation as an official specialty occurred in 1992. The first examination for board certification was offered in 1996.

Before specialty status is awarded by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties, seven criteria must be met:

1. Evidence to support a significant health demand and need for specially trained pharmacists in the designated area must be provided.

2. The specialty area must include a reasonable number of individuals who devote significant time to practice in the area.

3. Specialized knowledge and skills based on the biological, physical, and behavioral sciences are required for practice in the area.

4. Practitioners must perform specialized functions acquired by education or training beyond those required for licensure.

5. The transmission of knowledge in the area must be accessible through books, journals, symposia, and other formal mechanisms.

6. To be eligible for certification, an applicant must have graduated from an accredited school of pharmacy, have a current active pharmaceutical license, have completed either a residency program in psychiatric pharmacy with 1 additional year of practice, including substantial time in psychiatric pharmacy, or have a minimum of 4 years of practice in psychiatric pharmacy and pass the specialty certification examination.

7. The examination was developed and validated by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties Council on Psychiatric Pharmacy in collaboration with a professional testing firm. The examination is based on three domains that assess the pharmacist’s ability to collaborate with other health care professionals in pursuing optimal drug therapy for patients with psychiatric illnesses, generate or disseminate knowledge in psychiatric pharmacy, and collaborate with other professionals to recommend, implement, monitor, and modify systems for optimizing pharmacotherapy in patients with psychiatric illnesses. Board-certified psychiatric pharmacists must renew their certifications every 7 years.

This credible process has been implemented to assist the public and health care providers in identifying pharmacists who have the advanced level of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to provide quality health care in an increasingly complex environment. We encourage you to take advantage of the resources that board-certified psychiatric pharmacists have to offer you and your patients. For more information, call the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties at 202-429-7591 or visit the board’s web site at http://www.bpsweb.org.

Task Force on Specialty Recognition of Psychopharmacy Practice: Executive summary of petition requesting recognition of psychiatric pharmacy. Am J Hosp Pharm  1991; 48:1284-1290
[PubMed]
 
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References

Task Force on Specialty Recognition of Psychopharmacy Practice: Executive summary of petition requesting recognition of psychiatric pharmacy. Am J Hosp Pharm  1991; 48:1284-1290
[PubMed]
 
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