Week 8: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

August 15th, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

This week was primarily focused on TSE. This makes sense, as most people leave on Friday and the conference starts Saturday. Some of our Meetings department has already left to oversee the set-up process. I will be flying out at 7:10 am on Saturday morning. Needless to say, I am beyond excited and so thankful for this opportunity! Steve Anderson, Cornell alumni and CEO of NACDS, has really given me so many opportunities already. However, TSE is just the cherry on top! He is an incredible man who really loves his employees, and obviously, Cornell. He is always there to provide me with advice or guidance, as well. I am very fortunate!

I continued to work on updating the scripts for the Insight Sessions. I am so excited to attend these sessions and hear them live! I have worked on them so much that I feel responsible for them. I also feel as though I can recite them from memory since I have worked on them so long! We have a variety of amazing speakers, including the CEO’s of innovative companies, Harvard doctors, and former leaders of big-time organizations. Also, Hilary Clinton is our keynote speaker so we will definitely be hearing a fantastic speech. Needless to say, there is a real buzz about TSE. So far, we have around 7,000 people confirmed for the conference, with about 1,100 different retailers and associate members (such as pharmaceutical companies). I also finished up the agenda for the Faculty Scholars program. I spent a ton of time working on this and I learned an incredibly valuable lesson: instead of trying to be a superstar and make the program myself, it is much more efficient to ask for the original template from the creator, especially when it comes directly from our Marketing department. I will definitely keep this in mind for future projects throughout my career. The Faculty Scholars program is really interesting. Each year, the NACDS Foundation (our charitable association) takes research proposals from Junior Faculty members at various pharmacy schools across the nation. Their research can be anything from creating a new residency program, to helping to further to chain drug store industry as a whole. the Foundation selects the seven best proposals, and funds them. They then have several meetings throughout the year to discuss their research, meet with renowned researchers, and interact with each other. This is a great program because not only does it further the industry, but it also makes these individuals better professors. I also appreciate the diversity of the scholars, who are from all over the nation, including Mississippi, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. They are a really great group of professors who really care about their students. They sound exactly like Cornell professors!

I also got to attend a couple of high-level meetings this week. I cannot go into too much detail but they were fascinating! Just to be in the room with our senior level management and the consultants, working on grants, was incredible. Everyone is so knowledgeable and the way they all work together is efficient and successful. I was able to attend the meeting and take notes, which helped to further my understanding even more. I also plan to have dinner with another Cornell alum, Katie Mooshian ’99, on Thursday. She was happy to take some time out of her bust schedule to speak with me about some amazing job opportunities in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as provide me with some guidance for my future career endeavors. I am so excited!

Next week I will be in Vegas! I am sure that I will have so much to write about and many pictures to share!

Week 7: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

August 5th, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

Last week at NACDS! It is definitely a bittersweet moment. I have learned so much and met so many great people, that it will be difficult to leave this amazing place.

Last week was focused primarily on our Total Store Expo conference in Vegas. I finished up the agenda for our Faculty Scholars Program, as well as helped plan a dinner for Saturday night. On Wednesday, I attended a hearing on a bill called HR2810. This bill was seeking to increase Medicare reimbursements for doctors. However, once the discussions started, Congressmen Michael Burgess from Texas motioned to add nurse practitioners to the list of healthcare providers who would get fully reimbursed. This is a first for them. This clause was added unanimously by all 53 representatives. This was an instrumental victory for nurse practitioners. In order to decrease healthcare costs and keep people healthier, we must have more options for healthcare delivery, which definitely included nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and yes, pharmacists. All of these professions could really help the healthcare crisis. After the hearing, I stuffed envelopes for numerous Congressmen and Senators. Although I thought this was a menial task, I actually read the letter that NACDS was sending, and realized that it was actually pretty cool. It was really cool to see the bipartisan cooperation between NACDS and both Republicans and Democrats.

This weekend I took advantage of “Tax-Free Weekend” in Virginia. As a whole, Washington, D.C. is incredibly expensive and the tax rate is 10%! To me, that seems absurd, especially spending most of my time in Texas and Iowa. This weekend was definitely a great opportunity to see more of the rural side of Virginia and Maryland, as well. I have received my ticket to Vegas and will be leaving on Saturday! I can’t believe that I will be attending the conference. I am really looking forward to networking with some of the most important executives in the healthcare and retail industries. It should be a great experience!

I hope everyone has a great week, and I am looking forward to coming back to the Hilltop in a couple of weeks!

Week 6: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

July 30th, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

Well, I am going to Vegas! Throughout the summer, I have worked with our department to prepare materials for our national conference, the Total Store Expo. This is going to be a huge conference, with thousands of chain and community pharmacies, retailers, and pharmaceutical companies. We will also be offering numerous Insight Sessions, which I helped write the introductions for. Also, I have worked on planning a dinner for our Faculty Scholars program. I have been told by my supervisor that I will be attending the conference to assist them! This will be an amazing opportunity to network with some of the top leaders in the healthcare industry, learn how a conference runs, and spend some time in one of the coolest cities in the world. Needless to say, I am super excited!

Last week went by pretty quickly for me. I was at a Leadership Conference on both Monday and Friday. I learned a ton in these two days, especially on association management and the intricacies of how a company operates. I also met several really cool people, including someone from the Federation of State Medical Boards and a woman from a health care law firm. It’s great to hear the multiple perspectives on health care and the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday, everyone in the office was fortunate enough to go to a baseball game! We were given great seats on third base line, as well! It was a fun day to relax and watch the Nationals win! Best of all, it was a beautiful day. I also watched a hearing on pay-for-delay settlements and antitrust laws. Before this hearing, and during, I had to constantly stop and learn about what the committee members and witnesses were discussing. Though it took me much longer to finish watching and taking notes, I learned so much. The FTC and members of Congress are really cracking down on these anti-competitive activities. In the end, these harm consumers and keeps the price of pharmaceuticals, high. Many times, patients are unable to afford their prescriptions, thus they do not fill them. This is detrimental to their health and causes high, unnecessary extra hospital costs.

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On Wednesday night, I walked around Georgetown. This is a historic area with lots of neat shopping, restaurants, and sightseeing. That’s one of the best parts about DC: there is always something to go do or see! There is never a dull moment here.

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On Sunday, I took an adventure to the Tyson’s Corner Mall in Virginia. It did not look very far away. However, I finally arrived two hours later after 4 buses and 8 metro stops. By the time I got there, I did not even feel like shopping or anything! I spent a few hours there and had lunch at a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant. We went to one in Japan, and I was eager to compare the Japanese and American versions (this must be my inner Sociologist thinking).

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My time in DC is quickly ending! It’s crazy to think that I only have 3 weeks left. I have learned so much and worked on several meaningful projects. As an intern, I have been given quite a bit of responsibility, which I am incredibly grateful for.


Week 5: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

July 23rd, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

Another week down. Unfortunately, this Fellowship is moving way too quickly! This weekend I went to Union Market to DC Scoop! This is a huge event where tons of ice cream vendors set up booths and give you free samples!! It was a really cool experience and the ice cream was great. It was also really, really hot, ice cream was perfect.

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Last week my boss and everyone from my department was out for a couple of conferences in Chicago and Nashville. So, I was given a project for while they were away. This project asked me to analyze all of the screenings and preventative services covered under the Affordable Care Act. The USPSTF (United States Preventative Service Task Force) is a committee of medical professionals who research these chronic diseases and services, and determine which ones should be free for Medicare and Medicaid individuals. The screenings are rated from A-I, with those services receiving an A or B having full coverage. I was asked to look at the services which had an A or B rating, and see whether or not they could be done at community pharmacies. The screenings ranged from BRCA genetic testing and HIV, to alcohol counseling and cervical cancer. I went through each one individually to see which ones could be done at a pharmacy. After I narrowed the list down, I looked to see if they were already offered at pharmacies or if anyone had tried to implement them at a pharmacy. Many of these had been tried at pharmacies across the world, including some in Europe. I summarized my findings to present to my supervisor when he returned. Overall, it was a really interesting project! It really gave me an insight into the future of clinical screenings. It also showed me that pharmacies are capable of expanding their role in the healthcare network, which would benefit patients (would be cheaper and more accessible than going to the hospital to have the tests) and healthcare spending.

I also got to attend another hearing on Wednesday! This hearing was on Health Information Technology, and the future of the Meaningful Use Program. EHR needs to be more accessible for all members of healthcare, including doctors, pharmacists, and nurses. All of these professions need to work together to provide patients with the best care. In order to do this, they have to share EHR efficiently and securely. The Meaningful Use program provides healthcare professionals with incentives for successful and continued implementation of EHR. This is definitely the future of healthcare!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the ASAE (the American Society of Association Executives) leadership training! This was a great opportunity to learn some key foundations of Association Management, while also networking. I learned so much throughout the day and was very grateful that I got to attend! I also had the opportunity to sit with our CEO Steve Anderson (Cornell Alum). He is brilliant! Whenever he would speak, people would be amazed. However, he is very down-to-earth and always willing to help others, as well. He answered all of my numerous questions during the day. Cornell really produces some amazing alumni!

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Week 4: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

July 15th, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

Another great week here in Washington, D.C. I did several things last week, including writing scripts that our speakers will use at the NACDS Total Store Expo (our national conference) and doing research for several departments. I believe that my Cornell education has taught me to multitask efficiently and at a high level. Though we only have “One Course at a Time”, we have to balance numerous assignments, class times, and our lives outside of the classroom. We do all of this in 18 days! As you can tell from my previous blogs, I am very proud of my Cornell education and take great pride in representing Cornell during this Fellowship.

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My department has asked me to write the scripts for the speakers to use at our national conference. This is very exciting to me! The speakers that we have are some of the best in their field, and they have contributed substantially to the healthcare field. They will be reading something that I wrote to a crowd of CEO’s and other business executives. Hopefully I will be fortunate enough to attend the conference and hear the speeches myself!

I also researched various things throughout the week. I looked at the states with the highest rates of diabetes and myocardial infarction, and then attempted to see how much each these chronic diseases cost Medicare and Medicaid. In an effort to decrease these rates, individuals have to adhere to their medicines. NACDS, along with other pharmacies such as CVS, Thrifty White, and Rite Aid, have been designing programs to increase medication adherence and keep their patients healthy. If we can keep individuals out of the hospital, then we can decrease our overall healthcare spending. I believe that medication non-adherence accounts for $250 billion in unnecessary healthcare spending, such as numerous hospital visits, wasted medication, and absenteeism in the office. All of this spending can be completely avoided if we can find creative, helpful ways to increase medication adherence. I have listened to a couple of conference calls and webinars explaining the obstacles associated with medication adherence, and how pharmacies are overcoming them. I think all of their programs are fascinating and will make a huge impact.

NACDS also released an RFP (Request for Proposals) on Thursday, which I helped work on. I did some proofreading and brainstorming on the project, and was able to see its progression from a rough draft to a polished product. We are offering 2 grants at $600,000 a piece for creative transitions of care ideas that target patients with a history of continued hospital readmission and that also involve pharmacies. I found the email addresses of the individuals who we want to submit a proposal, and there are some amazing individuals who have produced very innovative ideas. I am excited to see the proposals that we receive!

Finally, I was able to sit in on a meeting for another research project that NACDS is doing within the next few weeks. Unfortunately, I am not able to talk about it too much, but it was really cool to be involved in this project, especially after taking Sociology Research Methods. I definitely have a new found respect for all of the work it takes to create a successful research project.

I am happy that NACDS has allowed me to participate in such a wide variety of activities! By doing this, I am able to see what parts I really enjoy working on.

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Week 3: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

July 8th, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! The festivities in Washington, D.C. are unlike anything you have ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of people come out to the parade and fireworks on the National Mall. After a full day of museums, touring the Capitol and Library of Congress, and eating great food, we walked to the National Mall to see the fireworks. It is pretty difficult to get a clear, unobstructed view of the monuments (especially since they are working on the Washington Monument), but we were pretty close. Being in such a historic city, on the most patriotic day of the year, is truly something special. As you can see, we saw many places! It was so great to have my parents and girlfriend (Tara Doner ’15) experience this amazing city.

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On July 5, we took a boat tour to Mt. Vernon, VA (the home of George Washington, not our beautiful city). It was so cool to see many of George Washington’s original artifacts and furniture. There were times when we were able to see his original bedroom, or even the bed he died in. It was really awe-inspiring. After Mt. Vernon, we visited the Smithsonian American History Museum. This is an absolute must whenever you visit D.C. They have some amazing artifacts, including an original stone from Plymouth Rock, a camera that was used to videotape some of the events of 9/11, and the china used by every president from the White House. They also had a large section of military memorabilia from every war since the Civil War and a section on the Civil Rights Movement. You could spend days in this museum and not see everything!

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As far as work, it was a pretty short week. I found over 300 email addresses for many high-level healthcare executives and professionals. We are contacting them to be a part of our grant program. We are funding two grant opportunities to research creative ways to decrease healthcare spending, while also expanding the role of the pharmacist. I also created some questions for our national conference, the Total Store Expo. We are hosting a variety of talks and informational sessions about various healthcare topics, and it is my job to help create questions that will facilitate a discussion between our speakers and our audience. I have been researching these topics pretty thoroughly and have learned so much about the business and policy surrounding healthcare. I also worked on a few other things throughout the short week. We got off work at 3pm on Wednesday, and had the rest of the week off. Thankfully, we have an amazing CEO (Cornell Alum Steve Anderson)!

All in all, it has been an amazing several weeks. I am so thankful to be working with NACDS. I also am thankful for the wonderful and challenging education that I have been receiving at Cornell. Our professors and classes really do prepare students for the real world and the skills we put into practice everyday are incredibly valuable to future employers. Thanks, Cornell!

Week 2: National Association of Chain Drug Stores

July 1st, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

I had another fantastic week at NACDS!

This week, I had the privilege of attending two Congressional Hearings on Capitol Hill! Both of these were incredible experiences. The first hearing discussed Drug Abuse and the CMS Reimbursements. This was interesting because I had never heard of the “doctor shopping” or “pill mill” fraud schemes before. Both of these cost about $10 billion in taxpayer dollars, as well as causing a high amount of drug overdoses. All of the witnesses discussed creative ways to staff and fund oversight committees, ways to get parents involved and educated about drug abuse, and problems with too much reimbursement.

The second hearing was regarding Medicare Part B and Senior Citizens. More and more, seniors are getting sent to hospitals far away from their homes rather than getting fast, accessible treatment from their local oncology clinics. These clinics simply cannot afford to stay open when they are paying for the medication and services, but not getting fully reimbursed by Medicare. By sending these seniors into the hospitals, it is costing Medicare (and taxpayer dollars) more. I believe the congressmen said that unnecessary hospital visits such as those that can be done in a clinic setting account for about $250 billion dollars. We must see a change in legislation if we are to ever truly balance the budget.


After the hearing with two of our other interns. Notice the Capitol in the background!


I was so excited! This was directly outside the hearing room.

I worked on a few other projects this week, one for the NACDS Foundation and the other for our Communications and Media Relations department. For the Foundation, which is our company charity, I began researching email addresses for a number of important researchers and administrative officials. We will be contacting them within the coming weeks. Next, I analyzed the various social media outlets for numerous pain management groups. It was interesting to see how much some companies rely on social media to share their message and updates. However, some groups tend to shy away from the typical sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and utilize their own personal blogs or forums. I did a write-up on the information that I found. I am also still working on my original larger project. The CDC reviewed the Hepatitis C facts, and decided that screenings should be covered for all Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. This is a huge decision and should help to decrease the high amount of undiagnosed Hep C cases.

I cannot wait for the Fourth of July! Seeing the fireworks with the monuments in the background will be an amazing view. Also, my girlfriend (Tara Doner ’15) and parents will be visiting, as well. It will be awesome to show them around Washington, D.C. Can’t believe that I only have 6 weeks left.

Week 1: National Association of Chain Drug Stores–Washington, D.C.

June 24th, 2013

Hayden Howard ’14, Anderson Fellow in Public Affairs

Week 1 is finally in the books! My time here in DC has just begun, but it has been a blast so far! I have met some amazing people, learned more than I ever imagined, and seen some really cool places. I still have 7 weeks left. On my first day at the office, the CEO of NACDS, Steve Anderson (Cornell Alum), took me out to lunch at the Capitol Hill Club. It is an incredible experience to be so close to all of the political action our country makes. Mr. Anderson has been so helpful in getting acclimated to living and working in DC, and he has had some great advice, as well. Yet another example of a very successful Cornell alumni! During my first week, I met with the heads of each department, and found out what they did to contribute to the overall mission of NACDS and its members. All of the departments work together to help further NACDS. I learned so much from these meetings, such as the various issues that pharmacies and pharmacists face in their day-to-day operations. Daily, NACDS seeks to promote and lobby for legislation that will improve pharmacy efficiency, which will in turn improve the lives of the patients.

I was also fortunate enough to attend a couple of conferences. On Tuesday, I went to AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy) in Alexandria, VA. While here, we were able to discuss the problems with the over-saturation of pharmacists, and ways to differentiate ourselves to potential employers. Though I am not going to Pharmacy school, this was very beneficial to me. The ways that they mentioned could be applied to all graduate schools, including medical school. I also got to network with some brilliant people. You never know when someone can help out in the future! On Thursday, I also went to ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) in Bethesda, MD. This conference opened my eyes to so many new professions and opportunities, such as being a pharmacist in a hospital or being a pediatric pharmacist. This conference really showed me all of the various opportunities in the healthcare field. Again, I was able to practice my networking and actually met a woman who is on the board of admission at a medical school! Both of these conferences were great experiences.

I also got my first project of the summer. As a part of the Pharmacy and Patient Advocacy department, we seek to improve the lives of patients by advocating for policies that make medications and treatments cheaper and more accessible. As part of my project, I am attempting to implement free Hepatitis C testings throughout the nation. Hepatitis C is currently the most lethal virus in the United States, killing more people than HIV. In most people, it causes liver disease and cirrhosis. The CDC recently released a statement that recommended all “Baby Boomers” (those born between 1946-1964) get tested. They estimated that over 3 million people are affected with Hep C that do not know it, with many of these individuals being baby boomers. Unfortunately, Hep C testing is not free, and many people simply cannot afford it. Thus, we are working on getting free Hep C testing. This is a very worthwhile and interesting project! I am also assisting in the Total Store Expo, which is NACDS’ national conference in August. I will continue to get more projects from various other departments throughout the summer. It’s great to be busy!

I have also had time to do some sightseeing and other fun things. I am living with a Cornell alumni (Merci Wolff ’12) who has shown me all around the city. She got us tickets to tour the Capitol and Library of Congress. Being in both of these places is an incredible experience. To think about all of the history that has happened in these two places, along with all of the great men who have helped shape this nation, is truly humbling. We also visited Eastern Market, which is essentially a historic outdoor market with food, art, clothes, and anything else you could imagine. This past weekend, we went to see a Washington Nationals game! The stadium is beautiful, and close to our house! We can see the stadium from our front door.

All in all, I am so thankful for this opportunity. Getting a chance to intern at such a prestigious company, in a historic city, is a dream come true.

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