Achievements of women in pharmacy lauded at Foundation dedication

APhA dedicates exhibit and conference room at headquarters in honor of women in pharmacy

The 20th century saw many dramatic and revolutionary changes in American life and the profession of pharmacy. Along with a shift toward industrialized manufacturing of pharmaceutical dosage forms in World War II and the clinical pharmacy movement, a third major trend in pharmacy was the rapid growth in numbers of women entering pharmacy as the baby boomers began college in the 1960s. That dramatic shift and the contributions of the tens of thousands of women pharmacists are now documented at APhA headquarters in the Women in Pharmacy Exhibit and Conference Room. As shown in these photographs, the room was dedicated by the APhA Foundation on September 23 with more than 100 women in pharmacy and their supporters in attendance.

Located directly across from the Federal Pharmacy Conference Room on the sixth floor of the APhA building, the Women in Pharmacy Room shares a view of the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, the Potomac River, and the Virginia skyline. The overall design was developed by Iza Eisemann of Eisemann Design in Washington, DC. The blossoming cherry tree mural and other creative elements in the room were added by APhA Senior Graphic Designer Scott Neitzke.

Since the founding of APhA in 1852, seven women have served as its President. Jenelle Sobotka (above), 2012–13 APhA President, welcoming attendees at the dedication ceremony, had this to say about Mary Munson Runge, the first woman, first black, and first employee community pharmacist elected President of APhA (see article in the August 2012 issue of Pharmacy Today): “Over her career, [Mary] not only broke the glass ceiling and the race barrier at APhA, but she also became known here in Washington for her service to the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the 1980 Reagan–Bush Health Policy Advisory Committee, and in the late 1980s for her work on the Prescription Drug Payment Review Commission.” During the ceremony, APhA Trustee L.B. Brown of Memphis, TN, also paid tribute to Runge, who has been a mentor to him since pharmacy school.


Of the 17 women pharmacist pioneers featured on this wall (above, left) of the Women in Pharmacy Exhibit and Conference Room, 2 attended the dedication. Mary Louise Andersen (above, center) was APhA Second Vice President in 1967 and the first woman Speaker of the House in 1968. Joy Holloman Donelson (above, right) was an innovative community pharmacist throughout her career and 2005 APhA Honorary President. Other women pharmacists, dating back to the 1700s and continuing into the modern era, are remembered on this wall for their contributions to the profession and advancement of women in pharmacy: Elizabeth Gooking Greenleaf, Elizabeth Marshall, Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi, Mary Olds Miner, Zada Mary Cooper, Anna Gertrude Bagley, Margaret Cornelius “Cora” Dow, Nellie Wakeman, B. Olive Cole, Edna E. Capurra Gleason, Sister Mary John Geiermann, Sister Mary Gonzales Duffy, Gloria Niemeyer Francke, Katherine “Kay” Keating, and Mary Munson Runge. The last three photographs on this wall represent traditionally women organizations that provided forums for women’s issues and places for mentoring and networking.


Becky Snead (in white), Kim Robbins (left), and May Woo, members of the committee that raised $250,000 so the APhA Foundation could create the Women in Pharmacy Exhibit and Conference Room, lit candles for the 14 pioneers recognized posthumously. Others on the fundraising committee were Karen Reed, chair, Winnie Landis, Wendy Friedig Weber, and Theresa Wells Tolle.

Metta Lou Henderson (left) of Tucson, AZ, author of American Women Pharmacists: Contributions to the Profession, serves as curator of the historical exhibits in the Women in Pharmacy Conference Room. Looking with Henderson is Cynthia Boyle of the University of Maryland.

Michelle Grossman Johnson (left) of Goodrich Pharmacy in Anoka, MN, was the student president of the Kappa Epsilon chapter at the University of Minnesota when Mary Beth O’Connell was the faculty advisor. Johnson decided to contribute to the Women in Pharmacy Conference Room to honor those women—including O’Connell—who mentored her during her career. That prompted O’Connell, now at Wayne State University in Detroit, to contribute, and they decided to attend the dedication together. Their story of role modeling and networking among women pharmacists mirrors those of many of the first 250 contributors of $1,000 or more to the Women in Pharmacy project who are recognized on this donor plaque as Founders.