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Curious about what Dr. Alan Agins presents at the conferences?


Curious about what Dr. Alan Agins, the originator of, and one of the principal instructors, behind our Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Clinicians conferences, presents at the conferences? Read his statement below.

The Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Clinicians conference was designed to provide a comprehensive and balanced overview (review and update) on the basic principles of pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics. The program starts with a lengthy review of basic pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, with emphasis on their influence and impact at the clinical level of medication management. This information becomes a thread that intertwines between and throughout the remaining discussions on the four major primary care areas: cardiovascular, infectious diseases, psych and pain management. Additionally, the program covers pharmacology and therapeutics related to women’s health and acute care specialties as well as a vital piece on the legal and logistic aspects of prescription writing.   

My personal/professional approach is to educate at a conceptual level – I believe that a firm understanding of the pathological basis of diseases (which I do incorporate into my lectures) provides a critical foundation for understanding the basic principles of pharmacology, the rationale for choosing (or avoiding) specific drugs and ultimately how that information can best be integrated into the varied clinical and prescribing practices of individual attendees. This is not a course that simply restates drug information that can be found in packaged inserts or drug references, but one that is meant to give the provider a better grasp of the “whys and wherefores” of medications, and the “art and science” of pharmacotherapeutics. See a video of his mission statement

This is the same approach, and basically the same level of information, that I used when I was teaching pharmacology in medical school (Brown University).

What gives this conference further benefit is that I am joined by three NP clinicians who bring their extensive clinical expertise (collectively probably > 65 years as NPs), with prescribing and managing mediations, to the table.

We asked Dr. Alan Agins, the originator of, and one of the principal instructors behind, our Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Clinicians conferences, why he chooses to be a part of the Contemporary Forums faculty. Read his response below.

That’s Easy! I developed this program in 1995 as I began to witness a growing demand, by NPs, for a pharmacology course in order to meet their State’s requirements for obtaining or maintaining prescriptive authority.
I proposed the idea to a number of continuing nursing education companies at the time, who hemmed and hawed and told me, after weeks of silence, they would consider it . . maybe!  But, it was a nurse planner at Contemporary Forums in late 1994 who listened to me pitch my idea on a Friday afternoon, asked me a few logistical questions and then called me back Monday AM to say “Let’s Do This!”... appreciated the insight, foresight and take charge attitude of that person as well as the company.

The rest is history. Over the past 23 years we have presented more than 100 of these conferences in just about every major (and 2nd tier) city in the US . . . to great reviews and with a substantial (and still growing) following. Each of my conferences has at least 15 – 20% repeat attendees and many of them have been multiple times (to the full 45 hour program)  – some have attended 10 times in 23 years (masochists!) In addition to all the pharmacology conferences I’ve presented, I have also been a speaker for CF at many of their other conferences over the years.

I choose to be a faculty presenter for CF because I have a long and positive history with the company. Part of it is company loyalty. Part of it is history. Part of it is enduring friendships I have with some of the original players. And part of it has been the willingness of administration to listen to some of the ideas and insights this old educator/businessman has gained over the 23 year relationship. I have considered, from the start (with the first phone call in 1994), that instead of working for CF, I work with CF toward a common goal – success, a positive reputation and the ability to offer a great educational program to providers.

Ever wonder about the importance of our Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Clinicians conferences or inquire about the benefits to the attendees? Read Dr. Alan Agins, one of the principal instructors behind the conferences, explanation below.

The ability to write prescriptions for medications adds yet another element of potential “danger” to the already difficult job of the healthcare provider. Medication errors, interactions, over- or under-prescribing, poor patient education or monitoring increase the risk of morbidity and mortality. It is critical for advanced practice clinicians / providers to have a full understanding of the basics of pharmacology and therapeutics and to keep abreast to changes in medications, treatment guidelines and more. Continuing education is one way to do that!  And this conference is designed with that in mind.

Benefits to Attendees:

  • It’s one of the very few in the country that can provide up to a full 45-hours of “pharmacology CE” in one sitting (great for those “Git-r-Done-minded” providers!)
  • For many providers just out of school, who had a limited (or poor) pharm course (I hear this a lot from attendees), this program can help fill some / many of the gaps or cement concepts that were difficult to understand or just not making sense at all.
  • For those who have been out practicing for some time, this program is a great way to review, refresh and update their knowledge of pharmacologic information.
  • The clinical presenters (Jody Agins, Patty Geraghty, Jamie Lynch), with collectively > 65 years of clinical experience, provide personal and professional insights, pearls-of-wisdom and real-world relevant information that help solidify the basics of pharmacologic science  
  • None of the speakers are sponsored at this conference by pharma – so there’s no bias (hinted, perceived or otherwise)!
  • All speakers are friendly, highly approachable and willing to share their knowledge (sometimes to a fault).
  • Spending 30 – 45 hours (4 – 5 days) together with the same group in the same ballroom, provides ample time to meet, network and form lasting friendships with fellow providers from one’s own town or state or from across the country.   
  • Unlike so many other conferences where there are often so many different speakers and/or topics, this conference, running over 45 hours (5.5 days), has just four speakers that cover essentially 7 major pharmacotherapeutic areas (1. Basics of pharmacology, 2. Cardiovascular, 3. Infectious Diseases, 4. Psychopharmacology, 5. Pain management, 6. Women’s Health, 7. Acute Care). It’s in-depth.

A good analogy: Music albums

We all know most music albums/CDs out there are a collection of many different songs by the same artist(s). Each track is unique, identifiable and, for all intents and purposes, could and often does, stand alone – like  “Hey, I just want to listen to this particular hit song”. There are also filler songs that are just so-so, or even horrible, and certainly not memorable, that people can skip over leaving the overall listening experience jagged and isolated and without context. This is what I see occurring at many conferences where the overall program offers a finite portion of topics with pharm CE hours and often there is no thread between the pharm topics.

And then there are “concept” albums/CDs that are a series of songs where, from beginning to end, one song blends into another and then another and no one song necessarily stands out as the best song... it is more as if the whole album tells a story that is meaningful and complete (examples (dating myself):  Moody Blues (Days of Future Passed and most others), Pink Floyd (The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon), Beatles (Sergeant Peppers. Abbey Road), Eagles (Hotel California), The Who (Tommy), David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust) and others. In all cases, the whole is better than the sum of its parts – and each piece of the evolving story makes much better sense in context to the whole story! This is how I see the CF pharm conference.

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