During his six years as AIHP’s President, William (“Bill”) Zellmer worked tirelessly to promote AIHP and its mission among his many contacts in the pharmacy profession. Bill’s term as President ended in November 2019, but his work for the Institute continues in his new volunteer role as AIHP’s Advisor for Pharmacy Outreach.
As his tenure as President was coming to a close, Bill worked with AIHP’s Executive Director Dennis Birke and incoming President W. Clarke Ridgway to define a new role that would allow him to continue his active support for AIHP. Those discussions laid the groundwork for Zellmer’s new role as AIHP’s Advisor for Pharmacy Outreach. AIHP’s Board of Directors formally appointed him to the position in February.
In his new role, Bill communicates with both individuals and organizations in the pharmacy profession about the work of the Institute. He gives particular attention to those who may be unfamiliar with the Institute. “I’m always surprised by the number of pharmacists who are unaware of AIHP and the work it does to preserve and explain the history of pharmacy,” Zellmer stated. “A simple conversation can cause a pharmacist to want more information about the Institute and, often, to become a member.”
As Advisor for Pharmacy Outreach, Bill also serves as AIHP’s representative at pharmacy association meetings. Zellmer is well-known among the leaders of national pharmacy organizations, having worked at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) for almost 40 years, where he served as Editor of ASHP’s journal, American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, and later as Deputy Executive Vice President.
Bill regularly serves as AIHP’s representative at the quarterly meetings of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP), a discussion forum comprised of all of the major national pharmacy organizations, and he is also one of AIHP’s delegates to the APhA House of Delegates. Zellmer uses such meetings to both elevate the profile of the Institute and to call attention to the importance of understanding the history of the pharmacy profession when grappling with current issues. “I believe that the work of AIHP in preserving, analyzing, and communicating pharmacy history should become a stronger component of leadership development in the profession,” Zellmer adds. “For that reason, it has been, and continues to be, important to me to support the work of AIHP in any way I can.”
Bill’s interest in understanding current issues confronting the pharmacy profession through the prism of history has inspired another recent contribution to AIHP’s work. After his term as president ended, Bill collaborated with Institute staff to develop a new feature for AIHP’s website called “From the Collections,” which highlights (among other things) past articles from AIHP’s journal, Pharmacy in History, about topics relevant to contemporary issues in pharmacy. In recent months, he has selected and provide commentary about articles germane to vaccination and the COVID‑19 pandemic and to racial disparities in the United States.
“The Institute greatly appreciates Bill’s continuing work to advance AIHP’s mission,” says AIHP Executive Director Dennis Birke. “Bill’s stature within the pharmacy profession and his deep knowledge of AIHP and its history make him the ideal person to serve as an ambassador for the Institute.”
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