A true pharmacy icon, Dr. Joseph A. Oddis, left the Earth this week. He began his life of service to pharmacy and its patients as a young man, going on to become the CEO of ASHP for 37 years and the recipient of the profession’s most distinguished accolades, including the Remington Medal and Hugo Schaefer Award. Over the course of his long career, Dr. Oddis touched every crevice and contour of pharmacy practice as we know it, and in doing so made an untold impact on the lives of millions of patients under pharmacists’ care.
Dr. Oddis was born in 1928, and from an early age his Italian immigrant parents encouraged their children to pursue education and a meaningful vocation. He and his brother fulfilled and exceeded their wishes. I can’t imagine the pride that his mother and coal-miner father must have felt when one son became a physician and the other a nationally prominent pharmacist.
From these beginnings emerged a pharmacist with singular determination and the courage to be led by his optimism. He consistently stood out for his character, integrity, and humility, and he earned many friends and supporters along the way. It’s no surprise that he landed in a position that required the trust of his peers.
Dr. Oddis brought to the table a brilliant mind and an unrestrained imagination. He envisioned a future where pharmacists were recognized as medication experts and key contributors to team-based health care, and he built rung after rung of the ladder we’d climb to get there. During his tenure at ASHP, he worked toward the establishment of accredited residencies, fostered research and continuing education, promoted educational and professional growth for pharmacy technicians, pushed for global pharmacy advancement, and oversaw the publication of some of the profession’s most trusted texts.
Dr. Joseph A. Oddis was a pharmacy hero for me and countless others. Not only did he build his own incredible legacy, but he freely shared his wisdom and experience with the next generation of pharmacy leaders. I will remember him as a mentor and friend, and I am better because I knew him.
Thank you, Dr. Oddis, and all of us at APhA send our love and support to his loving family.
Scott Knoer, MS, PharmD, FASHP
APhA Executive Vice President and CEO