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HOPA Launches Core Competency Certificate Program

Ellen Scharaga


The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) supports pharmacy practitioners through advocacy efforts and various educational opportunities such as online programs and webinars. Established in 2004, HOPA aims to help pharmacy practitioners, especially those in hematology and oncology, provide better care for cancer patients. With more than 2,500 members, HOPA brings together pharmacists, researchers, and technicians interested in advancing the hematology/oncology practice.

Over the past two decades, HOPA has made huge strides in its educational sector. The association has designed many programs that focus on the latest developments in oncology pharmacy. The goal is to equip pharmacists with the information they need to improve the quality of patient care. The HOPA Learn platform facilitates access to a diverse course catalog of webinars, self-study modules, and recertification courses.

Since its early years, HOPA has provided lectures for candidates pursuing their board-certified oncology pharmacist (BCOP) recertification. HOPA continues to offer BCOP courses for all pharmacy professionals. The 2021 BCOP course catalog includes updates on renal cell carcinoma, multiple myeloma, and breast cancer.

Further, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has collaborated with HOPA, which is now an accredited provider of ACPE programs. For example, HOPA Learn contains a self-study course bundle summarizing cutting-edge discoveries in oncology like approaches in precision medicine and new therapeutic agents.

HOPA leads several educational collaborations, such as Medscape, Horizon CME, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). NCCN delivered monthly live webinars throughout 2020, providing participants with the opportunity to earn ACPE and BCOP credit. Additionally, HOPA has launched various educational initiatives, including its own fellowship program. The fellow designation recognizes professionals who contribute to HOPA and whose performance in oncology pharmacy makes them exceptional leaders in the field.

HOPA also organizes a monthly live webinar as part of its Journal Club. During the webinars, hematology/oncology pharmacy residents present critical evaluations of relevant literature. An August 2021 edition featured presentations by residents from the Medical College of Wisconsin who analyzed studies on treatment modalities for advanced renal cell carcinoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

In June 2020, the association announced its Core Competency Certificate (CCC) Program. The CCC is ideal for newcomers seeking a fundamental introduction into oncology pharmacy and is suitable for institutions such as community hospitals and retail pharmacies that want to help their staff pharmacists acquire advanced oncology education.

Consisting of 12 learning modules, the program is available online on HOPA Learn. Interested individuals or institutions can purchase the entire program as a bundle or opt for specific modules. Registered participants gain access to online lectures in the form of on-demand webinars. The first four modules focus on the basics of oncology pharmacology and chemotherapy treatment management strategies, including patient assessment, dosing, and monitoring care plans.

Modules five through eight highlight practical aspects, such as supportive care plans and value-based frameworks in oncology. The last four modules discuss different aspects of drug management, such as medication procurement, billing, and safe handling of hazardous drugs.

Professionals who complete the program with a minimum score of 70 percent on all modules receive a certificate of completion and a digital badge. They also may claim up to 14.5 continuing pharmacy education credits.

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