Guru is a Sanskrit term used to describe a mentor, guide, or expert in a field or movement. If health-system pharmacy had a master guru, it would surely be William A. (Bill) Zellmer. Bill spent four decades of his career as an executive at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). While he retired from his role as ASHP’s Deputy Executive Vice President in 2009, his impact on the pharmacy profession is still felt through his activities as a speaker, writer, and consultant. Bill is perhaps best known for his powerful, visionary writing that continues to inspire generations of pharmacists. As editor-in-chief of AJHP, Bill penned more than 200 editorials addressing contemporary—and sometimes controversial—issues affecting the profession. So powerful were his editorials that a compilation of many of them was published as the popular book, The Conscience of a Pharmacist—Essays on Vision and Leadership for a Profession, in 2002.
Bill received his bachelor of science in pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin and a masters in public health at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently president of Pharmacy Foresight Consulting, which supports clients in the areas of strategic and professional issues in pharmacy practice and education. As founding editor of the annual Pharmacy Forecast report published by the ASHP Foundation, Bill lectures frequently on trends and issues that impact pharmacy, health policy, and our healthcare system. He is passionate about preserving, sharing, and learning from the history of pharmacy and is a past president and engaged member of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. In his letter, Bill reminds us that pharmacy history can foster pride in being part of an endeavor that has a grand purpose in society, thereby creating a deeper bond with the profession.