Grabenstein Installed as AIHP President

“We pursue history to inform progress”

John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD, was installed as AIHP’s President at the Institute’s Annual Business Meeting on November 18. He succeeded W. Clarke Ridgway, who retired from the Board of Directors after serving two-years as President and nine years as Treasurer.

John Grabenstein

Dr. Grabenstein is a globally recognized vaccinologist, pharmacist, and epidemiologist. He currently is president of Vaccine Dynamics, a consultancy providing services related to human vaccines, antibody products, and other immunologic drugs. He also serves as the Managing Editor of IZ Express, the newsletter of He previously served as Global Director of Medical Affairs for Merck Vaccines and Director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Military Vaccine Agency.

Dr. Grabenstein was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. He is the 2020 recipient of APhA’s Remington Honor Medal, American pharmacy’s highest honor for distinguished service.

In his inaugural remarks, Dr. Grabenstein thanked retiring president Clarke Ridgway and past president William Zellmer for their mentorship. He announced plans to form a “Presidential Advisory Committee” comprised of past AIHP presidents to better utilize their “accumulated talent and wisdom.” He also thanked the “crucial volunteers” who serve on AIHP’s Board of Directors, various committees and task forces, and the Editorial Board of History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals, noting that “contributions of time by our volunteers are truly essential to our progress.”

Dr. Grabenstein observed that the catchphrase “history to inform progress” captures the essence of the Institute’s mission. The work of AIHP, he stated, “helps us understand the world we live in” and promotes “practical applications of historical knowledge.” He remarked: “We know that historical work improves our future. AIHP matters!” He later stated: “What does AIHP do? We pursue history to inform progress.”

Dr. Grabenstein discussed the important role that historians, and historical organizations like AIHP, will play in understanding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: “Future historians will have a field day assessing how governments, scientists, and the public alternately praised or damned various means to treat or prevent COVID-19.”

He also observed that “when the final tally is compiled, pharmacists will be justly acclaimed for the magnitude of their contributions to mitigate and eventually control the pandemic.” He urged everyone to contribute their “stories, photos, videos, artifacts, and other documentation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on society” to the AIHP COVID-19 Pandemic Pharmacy Historical Documentation Project.

A copy of Dr. Grabenstein’s inaugural remarks is available at this link.

Dr. Grabenstein stated that his top priority as AIHP president would be implementation of the strategic priorities established by the Board of Directors in 2021. 

(Posted: December 16, 2021)

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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.

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