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A Mantra to Live By: Sí Se Puede! (Yes, You Can!)

Melissa A. Ortega

When thinking of Melissa, words such as passionate, proud, value-centered, and the ultimate professional quickly come to mind. She has focused her career on championing pharmacy practice advancements locally and nationally across the care continuum. She is currently Vice President, Ambulatory Pharmacy Services at Tufts Medicine.

Melissa received her doctor of pharmacy degree from Nova Southeastern University and completed her pharmacy practice and health-system pharmacy administration residencies at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. She has served as President of the Massachusetts Society of Health-System Pharmacists and has made sustained contributions to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Recently she has served as Chair of the ASHP Section of Community Pharmacy Practitioners and on the ASHP Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce.

Melissa’s letter is inspirational to all members of society, including those in the pharmacy profession, as she reflects on her professional journey as a minority in our profession. Honoring her Latin heritage, Melissa shares a mantra to live by: Sí Se Puede!

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My Cancer Experience Taught Me to Put Patients First

Robert J. Weber

Because of his close call with cancer, Bob is very focused on living in the moment, being a better family person, and putting patients first. He shares a patient’s perspective on enduring chemotherapy. He is also very dedicated and passionate about continuing The Ohio State Pharmacy Leadership Training Legacy and is the Director of the Latiolais Leadership Program in the College of Pharmacy. For several years, he has authored and coordinated the monthly Director’s Forum column in Hospital Pharmacy, which is designed to guide pharmacy leaders in establishing patient-centered services in hospitals and health systems. Bob brings several decades of leadership experience in two academic medical centers both in the service side and the colleges of pharmacy having begun practice as a critical care clinical pharmacist who maintains his board certification.

Bob received his bachelor of science, master of science, and doctor of pharmacy degrees from The Ohio State University, College of Pharmacy. He completed a residency at Grant Hospital. Bob is a professor of pharmacy and Director of Ohio State’s MS in Hospital Pharmacy Administration and Leadership.

Bob gives this great advice: Please do not let hardships in your life change your course; establish the right course, and you will find out that hardships will be easier.

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Networking Is Not Overrated, It Is Underestimated

Barbara Schlienz Prosser

If you were to ask members of Barb’s team about working with her, you would hear terms such as fairness, caring, supportive, doing the right thing, and networked. Barb is a leader that understands the value of a team, getting things done as a team, and the importance of a network. As you will read, she learned these lessons early in her career and has used them in many aspects of her life.

Barb currently serves as Vice President of Health Economics and Outcomes Research for Soleo Health and has more than 30 years in the home infusion industry. She has helped develop and shape this industry through volunteer leadership positions in organizations such as the National Home Infusion Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Joint Commission, including serving as a Surveyor in the Home Care, Ambulatory, and Network Accreditation programs for the Joint Commission. Since her retirement in July of 2022, Barb has worked as a per-diem HEOR Associate at Soleo. She received her pharmacy degree from the University of Florida, College of Pharmacy.

Barb’s letter focuses on the value of networking. Through her personal experiences, you will relate to situations where you will benefit from your professional or personal network for help or support. As Barb states, it’s never too early in your career to network.

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Nurture an Enduring Passion for Patients and the Profession

Billy W. Woodward

During any discussion with Billy about his profession, you will almost certainly hear him say that it is about the people we serve and our genuine love, respect, and concern for them; that you must have a “fire in the belly” to fulfill your professional dreams; and that an enduring passion for the patients and the profession will sustain you in your career. His passion for his work and his profession is about a vision far greater than himself: It is about purpose and a better and safer care of patients.

He is currently President of Renaissance Innovative Pharmacy Services, Ltd., in Temple, Texas, and is also a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Texas. For 25 years he was Corporate Director of Pharmacy for the Scott & White Health System in Temple, Texas, and also served as Director of Pharmacy and Central Services at Methodist Hospital in Lubbock, Texas.

Billy actively supports the pharmacy profession through his work in professional organizations. He has served in leadership positions in the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the ASHP Foundation, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation. He has received numerous awards including the ASHP Distinguished Leadership Award and the Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award—ASHP’s highest award for health-system pharmacy. Billy received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Billy provides a great insight: Passion and purpose will provide direction for you during those difficult and challenging times in your career.

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Pharmacists Finally Forged Their Place in the World of Public Health

Susan L. Sutter

Susan L. Sutter is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy and has spent her entire career caring for patients in her communities and advancing the practice of pharmacy. She is passionate about community pharmacy practice and is a great role model of a pharmacist who has maximized opportunities to serve and improve the health of her communities. Additionally, Susan is a great mentor and inspires others to practice in a manner that improves the health of their communities.

Susan has served her profession through leadership positions in local pharmacy organizations, national pharmacy organizations, the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association, and the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board. She has been honored with the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin Distinguished Service Award and the Bowl of Hygeia Community Service Award, Alumni of the Year, and numerous other awards.

Susan believes there is opportunity and a significant role for pharmacists in caring for and improving the health of their community. She shares her experience and advice in her letter “Pharmacists Finally Forged Their Place in the World of Public Health.”

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Planning for the Future

Sara J. White

Everyone needs a “Sara” in their life! In a very nonjudgmental manner, Sara wants only the best for you. She takes time to understand you and your vision for your career and life, and helps you along the journey to your vision. Her title may be mentor, coach, or friend, but she is always there to support you during the difficult times along the journey and to congratulate you during the good times. In her letter, Sara discusses a portion of life’s journey that everyone should plan for—retirement.

Sara currently serves as a faculty member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation’s Leadership Academy and a member of the Board of Directors of Omnicell, Inc. Formerly, she served as the Director of Pharmacy at Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

Sara received her bachelor of science degree from Oregon State University and her master of science degree from The Ohio State University, where she also completed her residency. She has served the profession of pharmacy in many leadership positions including President of ASHP. She has been honored as a recipient of many awards including the ASHP Distinguished Leadership Award and the Harvey A.K. Whitney Award, ASHP’s highest award for health-system pharmacy.

Here Sara tells us: there is no “right way” for a career to evolve, and it is never too early to start planning for the future.

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Pursuing Constructive Change in Pharmacy

William A. Zellmer

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.

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Serve Your “Every Patient”

Diane B. Ginsburg

Those of us who know Diane might describe her as someone unfazed by the level of stress that would send some right to the cardiologist, easily juggling priorities that would cause many to crack, and doing so in this season’s premier designer shoes. When things start to feel manageable, Diane purposely goes in search of new challenges. As an example, she decided to pursue her doctorate degree at one of the busiest times of her life, a decision prompted by tragedy. Teaching is her passion, and she realized the degree would help her be a better professor and administrator. She finished her PhD coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) with a perfect 4.0, and her dissertation in five months of course.

Pharmacy was not in Diane’s original career plans, but serendipity played a significant role in her career path. As with other aspects of Diane’s life, once she decided to be a pharmacist she was all in, working almost full-time as a pharmacy intern while in pharmacy school.

Diane is currently Clinical Professor & Associate Dean for Healthcare Partnerships at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. She completed her bachelor of science degree in pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, a master of science degree in hospital pharmacy at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy, a doctor of philosophy in higher education administration and leadership at UT, and a two-year ASHP-accredited residency in hospital pharmacy administration at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. An active American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) member and volunteer, Diane is a past President of ASHP and former Chair of the Board of the ASHP Research and Education Foundation.

Diane’s letter describes the concept of “every patient” taught to her by her mother, a philosophy that has made her a better pharmacist.

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Social Relevance, Purpose, and Legitimacy

Henri R. Manasse Jr.

Many have experienced life-enriching conversations with Henri, and if you enjoy time with people who make you think, Henri will be at the top of your list. He often brings a social, moral, and global perspective to conversations and has a unique ability to connect those perspectives to practical aspects of your life. He is intensely devoted to his family, profession, friends, and his societal purpose. Here he draws from his personal family history through which he powerfully states that a profession must exist in a bigger social context.

Henri retired as the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). He has served as Vice President for Health Sciences and Professor at the University of Iowa, Interim Vice Chancellor for Health Services University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, and Dean and Professor at the University of Illinois, College of Pharmacy. He continually worked throughout his career to improve patient care by serving in leadership positions for professional organizations including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Federation International Pharmaceutique, and the National Patient Safety Foundation.

Henri received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois, his master of arts degree from Loyola University, and his doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Minnesota. In recognition of his contributions, he received the Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award, ASHP’s highest award for health-system pharmacy, and received several honorary doctor of science degrees from major universities. He was inducted into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1996.

Here Henri encourages you to consider your role as a professional in a free and democratic society.

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Stay True to Your Values

Ernest R. Anderson Jr.

You will never meet a more values-centered person than Ernie. He has an incredibly strong foundation in his faith, has built a very successful career as a servant leader, and is proud of his success in building supportive cultures allowing individuals to thrive. His faith and values have certainly guided him through challenging times when there were conflicts with his values in his work environment. Such experiences served to strengthen his commitment to his values and through his letter you will benefit from his experiences.

Ernie is the founder of Ernest R. Anderson, Jr. Consulting, Inc., and consults in all aspects of pharmacy practice with health-system pharmacies. He is formerly System Vice President of Pharmacy at Steward Healthcare and has held various leadership positions in hospitals and health systems during his career. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Pharmacy at Northeastern University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He is also active in various professional organizations and is an author and national speaker on numerous leadership and pharmacy practice topics. He received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Northeastern University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions.

Ernie shares that there will likely be times in your career that your values are challenged and encourages you to carefully consider the values that are important to you and your life and stay true to them.