The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, a member of AIHP’s National Pharmacy Association Sponsor program, is in the midst of a year-long celebration of its 75th Anniversary. Founded on August 21, 1942, ASHP has consistently sought to improve, advocate for, and support the professional practice of pharmacists in hospitals and other health-system institutions.
ASHP has created a detailed 75th Anniversary Timeline website. The timeline presents historical information and describes historical events important to the history of hospital pharmacy dating back to 1752. The bulk of the timeline, however, covers the years since 1942 with six detailed sections: The Birth of ASHP (1942-1949), Early Leadership and Publications (1950-1960), Building a National Identity (1961-1967), Advancement on All Fronts (1968-1982), Expanding Reach and Communities (1983-1996), Paving the Way to the Future (1997-Today).
AIHP President, William A. Zellmer, a contributing editor to the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (AJHP) and a retired ASHP staff member, recently wrote a tribute to the founders of ASHP entitled, “Hail to the Radicals Who Founded ASHP.” The article appeared in the February 1, 2018 edition of AJHP. Zellmer writes that “the creation of ASHP 75 years ago stemmed from the radical ideas of hospital pharmacists and pharmacy educators who were not afraid to challenge the status quo.” He explains that, in the 1940s, hospital pharmacy “was a dreary backwater… and [that] most hospitals did not employ a pharmacist.”
In response to this prevailing situation, Zellmer argues that the reformers and hospital pharmacy advocates pursued a “radical” agenda:
It was a radical idea that there should be a role for pharmacists in hospitals… It was a radical idea that pharmacists should collaborate directly with physicians and nurses in the care of hospitalized patients. It was a radical idea that pharmacists, physicians, and administrators should organize a system to limit and control the drug products available in the hospital.
He observes that “the pioneers of hospital pharmacy” succeeded in creating a “distinct culture in their specialty: a culture of honest self-assessment; of respect for science, reason, and of professional ideals; and of faith in the value of striving for constructive reform.” Today, Zellmer argues, “we can still learn from and be inspired by the vision and perservance of those intrepid men and women.”
Similarly, in a recent AJHP editorial (December 1, 2017), “ASHP at 75 Years: Celebrating the Past and Embracing the Future,” ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz, ASHP Chief Operating Officer Kasey J. Thompson, and AJHP Editor Daniel J. Cobaugh explain that the organization’s history has well positioned ASHP for future challenges.
They write that “ASHP’s 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the organization’s rich history and, more importantly, consider how ASHP will continue to lead the way in envisioning the future of pharmacy.” In reviewing ASHP’s past accomplishments and in looking towards the future, the editorial explains that “ASHP’s historical successes are rooted in a culture of innovation, a focus on science and professionalism and—first and foremost—what is in the best interest of the patients whom ASHP’s members serve.” In conclusion, the authors emphasize, “we believe this culture will provide the critical foundation and structure for ASHP’s future accomplishments.”
AIHP congratulates the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists on its 75th anniversary!
For $70/year ($90/foreign)
For $140/year ($160/foreign)
Pharmacy Education Fund (Schools or College of Pharmacy)
Upcoming events of interest to historians of pharmacy, pharmaceuticals, medicines, science, and related fields: