A few years ago, a room was designated in the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) headquarters, located in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the significant contributions women have made to the pharmacy profession. Although it may seem that women have a commanding role in today's pharmacies – and indeed they do – it wasn't always this way. Which is why it's important to take a moment to celebrate the innovative women who broke down barriers and blazed the way for today's dedicated women pharmacists.
The story begins with Elizabeth
Greenleaf, who is regarded as America's first female pharmacist. According to APhA, Greenleaf is listed among the 32 apothecaries in New England during the last 1600's, and in 1727, owned an apothecary shop in Boston. Today's working mothers can learn a lesson from Greenleaf who, in addition to running her own store, had twelve
Other notable women in pharmacy profiled
by APhA include:
Flash forward to today, and women continue to excel throughout the profession:
Not only are women distinguishing themselves in traditional pharmacy settings, but they are increasingly assuming the title of "pharmacy owner." The National Community Pharmacist Association says that 20 percent of its membership is comprised of women, a figure that is on the rise.
A recent profile of one current entrepreneur highlighted pharmacist Leslie Davis, who in 2012 purchased the independent drug store in her hometown of Attica, Indiana. Davis, a graduate of Purdue University, was asked what inspired her to want to own her own store. Her response noted her passion for helping the people in her community. "I know 99% of the customers when they walk in the door," Davis said. "I know the names of the customers as well as I know the drugs I give them."
In 2017, a new group was formed called PharmacistMomsGroup.com, as a way to offer support, resources and networking opportunities for pharmacist moms. The group was founded by Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, and since its inception, the group has grown to more than 28,000 members.
One of Soliman's first initiatives was to draw attention to the accomplishments of women in her profession by establishing “National Women Pharmacist Day.” Quite appropriately, October 12 was designated as the date for this event, in recognition of pioneer Elizabeth Greenleaf's 12 children.
The inaugural event took place on October 12, 2018 and was marked nationwide. As we prepare to mark the second "National Women Pharmacist Day," it will be fitting to pay tribute to not only Elizabeth Greenleaf, but also to people like Leslie Davis, and Suzanne Soliman, and the thousands of other women who are making a difference in the lives of their patients, and finding new and better ways to improve their profession.