AIHP Mourns the Passing of Joseph Oddis

Joseph Oddis
Joseph A. Oddis. Image courtesy of the AIHP Kremers Reference Files

AIHP is sad to report that Dr. Joseph A. Oddis, a longtime pharmacy leader at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and a loyal supporter of the Institute, died on February 24, 2021, at age 92. A firm believer in the value of history, Oddis first joined AIHP in 1960 and maintained his membership for six decades.

Dr. Oddis served as the CEO of ASHP for 37 years (1960–1997). During his tenure, ASHP grew from 3,300 members to 31,000 members. The organization also became the accrediting body for health-system pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. By the time Dr. Oddis retired in 1997, more than 10,000 pharmacy residents had graduated from ASHP-accredited programs.

Joseph Oddis Quilt
“The Oddis Quilt” created in 1997 by ASHP state chapters in commemoration of Joseph’s Oddis’s long tenure as ASHP CEO. Image courtesy of the AIHP Kremers Reference Files.

In 1986, while serving as ASHP’s CEO, Dr. Oddis was elected to a four-year term as President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).

Dr. Oddis had a life-long interest in pharmacy history, as demonstrated by his sixty years of AIHP membership. AIHP immediate past president Bill Zellmer, who worked with Dr. Oddis at ASHP for many years, commented on Oddis’s appreciation for the value of pharmacy history. Zellmer recalled that when he began working for ASHP in 1970, the Society’s archivist, noted pharmacy historian Alex Berman, with Dr. Oddis’ support, annually reviewed documents that staff set aside for potential addition to the organization’s historical collections. Zellmer observed: “This was just part and parcel of Joe’s recognition of the importance of documenting the history of pharmacy’s evolution in the United States.”

During the period when the national pharmacy organizations had a seat on AIHP’s governing board, Dr. Oddis made sure that ASHP was well represented at all the board meetings, according to Zellmer.

Dr. Oddis received many prestigious awards, including ASHP’s Harvey A. K. Whitney Lecture Award in 1970 and the Donald E. Francke Medal in 1986. APhA presented Oddis with the Hugo H. Schaefer Award in 1983 and the Remington Honor Medal in 1990. FIP recognized Oddis’s support for international pharmacy by presenting him with the André Bédat Award in 1994. In 2013, FIP honored Oddis as the inaugural recipient of the Joseph A. Oddis Award for Exceptional Service to FIP.

Dr. Oddis survived by a son and daughter, and four grandchildren.

Please read the full ASHP’s full obituary for Joseph A. Oddis.

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