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NCPA ups the ante in pharmacy advocacy

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Round of appointments amplifies voice of community pharmacists

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association has made several staff appointments and enlisted a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm to augment its federal, state and media relations efforts.

NCPA said Thursday that Kevin Schweers has been named as senior vice president of government and public affairs and director of the NCPA Advocacy Center. The policy, regulatory and federal and state legislative teams will report directly to Schweers.

Kevin Schweers_NCPA

Kevin Schweers

Schweers has served as NCPA’s senior vice president of public affairs since 2011. Before joining the association in 2009, he held held several senior public affairs positions at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Senate and House of Representatives, including the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

“I believe NCPA can enhance its effectiveness and raise its profile in the health care community by combining its government affairs and communications departments into an NCPA Advocacy Center,” NCPA chief executive officer B. Douglas Hoey said in a statement. “So much of advocacy is about communications and vice versa. My vision is that a more unified effort will be synergistic for both areas.”

To that end, NCPA has hired Scott Brunner as senior vice president of communications and state government affairs. Reporting to Schweers, he will lead communications, state government affairs and fundraising for the political action committee and legislative/legal defense fund. Brunner previously served as CEO of the Georgia Pharmacy Association and is a veteran association executive who also led state organizations in Virginia, Mississippi and other states.

Also as part of its advocacy realignment, NCPA has promoted Karry La Violette to vice president of government affairs and advocacy, leading the association’s congressional lobbying efforts. La Violette joined NCPA in 2011 and, prior to that, served in advocacy roles for The Boeing Co. and the Food Marketing Institute.

Stephanie DuBois has been appointed senior director of marketing communications. With NCPA since 2013, she will take on additional duties for NCPA’s website and digital strategies. DuBois previously worked in the House of Representatives as communications director for three different members of Congress.

Also to boost its advocacy capabilities, NCPA has retained D.C.-based Capitol Counsel, which provides advocacy, policy analysis, legislative monitoring and strategic counsel services. NCPA noted that the firm specializes in health care and is “stocked with many Capitol Hill veterans.”

“This is an important moment for independent community pharmacies,” Hoey added. “Changes in Washington, state capitals and the private sector present new opportunities and challenges for community pharmacists.”

NCPA represents the owners of more than 22,000 independent pharmacies, which combined account for an $81.5 billion health care marketplace and employ over 250,000 people.


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