AIHP Leadership Transition Underway

Current AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert, PhD, will become the Institute’s Executive Director on July 1, when Dennis Birke retires from that position, AIHP President John D. Grabenstein, PhD, announced in a recent email sent to members. AIHP will also hire a new Director of Operations to manage the Institute’s  day-to-day affairs, Dr. Grabenstein announced.

Mr. Birke informed the Board of Directors last fall of his desire to retire in 2023. Dr. Grabenstein said Mr. Birke’s retirement plans prompted the Board to undertake a comprehensive review of the Institute’s current leadership model. The current model, in which the Historical Director and the Executive Director share responsibility as co-leaders, was implemented in January 2019, when Mr. Birke and Dr. Richert assumed their current positions.

AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert
Lucas Richert, PhD

After conferring with past and present Institute leaders and staff, Dr. Grabenstein said the Board decided that the Institute’s best option was to return to a leadership model used for most of its 80-year history, where a pharmacy historian on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, (AIHP’s host institution), also serves as the Institute’s Executive Director. Dr. Richert assumed the George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy when he joined the School’s faculty in 2019.

Dr. Richert is expected to devote approximately 20% of his time to his responsibilities as AIHP’s Executive Director. A new Director of Operations will assume responsibility for managing the day-to-day affair of the Institute under the direction of the Executive Director.  AIHP is currently conducting a job search to fill the Operations Director position. Mr. Birke is expected to continue working at the Institute through September in a caretaker role to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.

AIHP and the UW School of Pharmacy will enter into a new Memorandum of Understanding that documents the new role that the School’s Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy will assume at the Institute. The new agreement supersedes a Memorandum of Understanding that the parties entered into in 2014, at the time the endowed Urdang Chair position was first established.

Dr. Richert, a Professor at the UW School of Pharmacy, was awarded graduate degrees from the University of Edinburgh and University of London after beginning his academic studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to coming to the UW-Madison, he was a Lecturer and then a Chancellor’s Fellow in the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare.

Dr. Richert’s current research focuses on legal and illegal drugs, drug science and technology, alternative therapies, and mental health. He is the author of three books, including Break on Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2019), Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019), and Conservatism, Consumer Choice, and the Food and Drug Administration during the Reagan Era: A Prescription for Scandal (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014). He co-edited (with Jim Mills) Cannabis: Global Histories (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2021).

Dated: June 12, 2023

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AIHP Wants to Document Your COVID-19 Stories and Experiences

AIHP COVID-19 ProjectThe American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is documenting and preserving pharmacy stories and experiences during the COVID-19 global pandemic for the benefit of future historians and scholars. We seek to record the effects of this public health emergency on all types of pharmacy experiences. We invite you to share your pharmacy stories, photos, videos, artifacts, and other documentation of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

You can participate in the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project either (1) by immediately sharing your thoughts/experiences and/or submitting digital materials or (2) by signifying your to intention to submit materials in the future. Please comply with all applicable local or state stay-at-home orders while self-documenting.

Please click the link below to learn more about participating in the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project.

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Calendar of Events

Upcoming events of interest to historians of pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, medicines, science, and related fields. (Event information current when posted. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please double-check the status of all events):

May 28-31, 2024: Kremers Seminar in the History of Pharmacy webinars.
June 27-30, 2024: ADHS Biennial Conference, Buffalo, NY.
July 7-11, 2024: International Social Pharmacy Workshop, Banff, Canada.
September 4-7, 2024: 46th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, Belgrade Serbia.
January 3-6, 2025: Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York City, NY.

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