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Deserving honour

June 25, 2024
Portrait of Rick Hackman
Former ACP Council president Rick Hackman presented with Honorary Life Membership.

As an ACP Council president—not once, but twice—Rick Hackman handed out his share of awards to deserving pharmacy professionals and members of the public, on behalf of Council. At ACP’s Celebration of Leadership in Calgary on June 12, 2024, Rick found himself on the receiving end of recognition from the college, as he was presented with an Honorary Life Membership.

The Honorary Life Membership is presented to a regulated member or former regulated member who, in the opinion of Council, has rendered distinguished service to the practice of pharmacists and/or pharmacy technicians.

“You’re right, I did have the opportunity to present a number of awards to several people,” Rick recalled. “In those instances, I found myself feeling proud. Proud for them. I also recognized that their accomplishment really did reflect upon the entire profession. And that made me proud. Receiving recognition like this made me feel grateful and humbled. It’s nice to be recognized, especially by your peers.”

Recently retired from his career as a community pharmacist in the Edmonton area, Rick has been a leader in pharmacy since the early 1990s. In 1992, he began his first of two terms as a member of the Council of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Association (APhA), including a term as president in 1995-96. In 2012, he served two terms on ACP Council, including serving as president in 2015-16. In his acceptance speech, Rick noted the colourful and important history that pharmacy has had in Alberta. He felt privileged to play his part in that history.

“When you’re in the middle of things, it’s difficult to recognize the significance of what’s happening,” Rick said. “You’re in the moment; you’re in the heat of the battle. It’s when we stop and reflect after allowing those moments to breathe and connect with one another and gain context that we realize how significant those moments were. It’s gratifying to know that I played whatever small part in some of those moments. But what also stood out to me was that there were so many people who played a role in making all of these moments come together into things that became very significant for all of us.”

When Rick reflected on his first terms on the APhA Council, he recalled the important conversations that were just starting that ended up having a significant impact on pharmacy practice. 

“Those were incredible years,” said Rick. “Those were the days of the very first conversations around the new scope of practice for pharmacists. And I think it was in 1994 when we made the very first presentation to the Health Workforce Rebalancing Committee about the potential role that pharmacists could play, so it’s extraordinary to look back now. But those were the early days of those conversations. Also, we had the early conversations about the separation of the APhA into ACP and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association.”

In 2012, 12 years after the formation of ACP as the regulator for pharmacy, Rick again put his name forward for election to Council. He was elected for two more terms.

“It was important to have fresh voices on the council, but after a reasonable absence from being part of Council, I couldn’t stay away,” said Rick. “I missed being on the leading edge of the wedge and participating in the conversations and the debates of the day. Some of our significant achievements were changing our name from the Alberta College of Pharmacists to the Alberta College of Pharmacy to make it more inclusive for pharmacy technicians. The issue relating to the abolition of inducements that went all the way up to the Court of Appeal was certainly significant. Then the consideration of standards for sterile and non-sterile compounding. Gosh, the list goes on and on and on.”

Rick says serving on ACP Council is one of the highlights of his career, adding it’s the people who made his time so special.

“The people who I’ve come to know as being a part of the organization will be lifelong friends and have really changed the way that I look at my profession and how I see the world,” said Rick. “It’s extraordinary to get to work with people who are like minded in terms of looking at the world broadly. Members of Council have an uncanny ability to take an issue and look at it in a very unbiased and unprejudiced way and are able to come away with different points of view that I would have never considered before. I find myself taking that approach in all parts of my life. And for that, when I think of the organization, I will be forever grateful.”