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May 13, 2019
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Americas: How an App Improved the APhA’s Conference Risk Management


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Like any seasoned meeting pro, John Russell, director of expositions for the American Pharmacists Association in Washington, D.C., knows that it’s impossible to think of everything that could possibly go sideways on site during an event. Hurricane? (Been there.) Death of an attendee? (Twice.) A spy in the audience? (Yup, but that’s a separate story.)

Russell oversees two major APhA events each year: a 6,000-person annual meeting in the spring, recently held in March in Seattle, and the Joint Federal Pharmacy Summit in the fall, which attracts about 1,000 attendees. Security for these events falls under Russell’s job description and until the JFPS meeting last October, his risk management process was pretty standard. He has a seven- or eight-page emergency procedure document that includes critical phone numbers; key resources such as the closest hospital; and procedures for what to do under various crisis scenarios. The document is updated for each event and emailed to the 100 people who staff the annual meeting and the 20 people who staff the JFPS event. For the annual meeting, he also holds a security pre-con to go over the document.

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