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Celebrating Former ASHP CEOs: Joseph A. Oddis, Sc.D. (Hon.)

By Paul Abramowitz posted 06-01-2017 09:05

On May 19, the ASHP family celebrated the dedication of our new offices — the Joseph A. Oddis Global Headquarters of ASHP — named for the organization’s second and longest-serving CEO. It’s fitting that Dr. Oddis’ name graces our offices as we mark the beginning of a new era for ASHP. A visionary leader, he has had a profound and lasting impact on ASHP and the creation of modern clinical pharmacy practice and, undoubtedly, has improved patient care and public health.

building-dedication-1.jpgNearly six decades ago, in 1960, Dr. Oddis took over the helm of ASHP, known then as the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists. During his 37-year tenure as CEO, he transformed ASHP from an organization with 3,300 members and one staff person — Dr. Oddis — into a strong, vibrant, and influential force in pharmacy and healthcare. Under his leadership, ASHP grew to more than 31,000 members and 180 employees. Today, ASHP has nearly 45,000 members, a staff of more than 200, and a wide range of contributions that would not have been possible without Dr. Oddis’ extraordinary vision and tremendous leadership.

Dr. Oddis’ most enduring legacy is the ASHP family. A warm and generous leader, he took care to cultivate a staff culture that focused on serving our members in a respectful, team-based approach. He is a man of great humility who never sought the limelight. As ASHP grew and achieved renown, Dr. Oddis always credited staff, volunteer leaders, and members for the organization’s success.

Many of ASHP’s signature initiatives can be traced to Dr. Oddis’ leadership, including the accreditation of pharmacy residencies, the creation of education and certification programs for pharmacy technicians, and the expansion of continuing education opportunities for pharmacists with the conferences that would become the ASHP Summer Meetings and the award-winning Midyear Clinical Meeting.

building-dedication-2.jpgDr. Oddis was an early advocate for pharmacists as patient care providers on interprofessional teams and drove efforts to improve global pharmacy. In 1968, he established the ASHP Foundation, whose extensive research, educational, and awards programs make it a key partner for ASHP in driving pharmacy practice forward into a new and better future.

Under Dr. Oddis’ direction, ASHP cultivated our core strength in drug information and introduced the American Hospital Formulary Service, which has gained international recognition as the most comprehensive source of unbiased drug information. ASHP has also published hundreds of clinical and professional books that — taken together with our flagship publication, AJHP— provide pharmacists around the world with a vast, in-depth library of information to enhance their patient care services.

Dr. Oddis is a man of incomparable grace, wisdom, and vision. When I served on the ASHP Board of Directors and as ASHP President in the early ’90s, I had the great pleasure to work very closely with Dr. Oddis. He was a mentor to me, as all of the ASHP presidents can attest, and I still seek his counsel and advice today. I am indebted to him and honored to follow in his footsteps.

Our new headquarters not only carries Dr. Oddis’ name, but also embodies a principle he emphasized during his time as CEO: ASHP headquarters is more than a building. It is the heart of our professional association, and it reflects the success of our members in providing care to the patients that you serve.

We are grateful to Dr. Oddis for that lesson and so many others. And we look forward to continuing his tremendous legacy during our 75th anniversary and for many years to come in the newly minted Joseph A. Oddis Global Headquarters of ASHP.


1 comment



06-01-2017 10:02

Paul -  very nice write up.  a very  happy looking group.  Joe looks like a very happy camper which he should be.  Best wishes to you, staff, and members in the new office building.   William E. "Bill" Smith, PharmD, MPH, PhD, FASHP