The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA)’s 17th Annual Conference

By Lisa Holle, PharmD, BCOP, FHOPA, FISOPP

Together, we can fight cancer anywhere. That was the motto of the 17th Annual HOPA conference held April 13-17, 2021. Due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the annual meeting was held virtually for the first time, but that didn’t slow down the educational offerings or the attendance. The meeting offered 39 continuing education credits, including 8 credits toward board certification in oncology pharmacy. Over 1,424 people registered for the conference (highest attendence record to date), and on average attendees spent 67 hours within the virtual platform. The virtual meeting platform was set up to mimic the usual HOPA Annual meeting, with an exhibit hall, general sessions, breakout sessions, poster hall, recruitment fair, patient advocacy groups longe, and a networking lounge. If you’d like to take a quick peek at the virtual platform and a quick overview of the meeting and see our new HOPA fellows and awardees, you can watch this Youtube video (~2 min) at the following link:

The first day of the Annual Meeting included a debate titled “ Cancer-Related Thrombosis: The Great Debate on the Best Way to Anticoagulate.” Dr. Allison Schepers and Dr. Victoria Nachar, both from from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center (see attached photos) debated on the use of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) and low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH) in patients with active malignancy. It was very informative, providing the most up-to-date data and insight into logistical issues such as LMWH dosing, use of DOACs in feed tubes and in special populations. The debate format was not only engaging but really solidified the pros/cons of these agents. Other debates included upfront use of monoclonal antibodies in treatment of multiple myeloma and antibiotic de-escalation for febrile neutropenia. General sessions touched on many different cancer and related treatments as well as supportive care and practical pharmacy management issues. A full list of the topics can be found here: and is still avalable as a virtual education session for purchase here:

Another highlight of the Annual Conference was the John G. Kuhn keynote lecture by Dr. Lakesha Butler on “Dismantling Structural Racism in Pharmacy.” Dr. Butler, an expert in providing healthcare to uninsured and underinsured patients and diversity, equity, inclusion, bias, and racial justice, provided the audience with an overview structural racism and social derminants of health that impact racism. She ended the session with strategies we can use to dismantle structural racism in pharmacy. A BCOP session later in the meeting focused on on health disparities in cancer care: racism as a risk factor. In this session, Dr. Maurice Alexander, Dr. Britny Rogala Brown, and Dr. Benyam Muluneh took us through 3 scenarios where we broke out into small groups and discussed how we would handle a situation involving racism in a teaching setting, research setting, and clinical setting.

One of the best things about annual conferences are the networking opportunities. HOPA meeting organizers did a great job of trying to keep this aspect of the meeting. A networking lounge was available at all times, where an attendee could text or video chat with others in the lounge. Virtual receptions were also a part of the meeting. This confernce was supposed to be held in Portland, Oregon and a wine tour was originally scheduled. One of the virtual receptions was “Time to Wine Down” where sommelier, Benjamin Bryant, provided a crash course on the winemaking process and then there were breakout rooms where attendees had a chance to chat about the wine they were drinking from their own home. It was truly a very fun networking event.

The 18th HOPA Annual Meeting will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on March 30-April 2, 2022. Hope to see you there!

HOPA Virtual Conference

HOPA Virtual Conference