The announcement of the first woman of color nominated to a presidential ticket brought up some good discussions and reflections as to how far Idaho Pharmacy has come in the past few years, and also, how far we still need to go.
Many see how progressive Idaho is with Top Female Leaders like Nicki Chopski, Executive Director of the Board of Pharmacy, Brenda LaDue, Executive Director for the Pacific Northwest VA Region, Kelley Curtis, Chief Pharmacy Officer of St. Luke's Health System, and our own Caroline Merritt, Executive Director of ISHP. Many don't realize that most are the first woman to be named to their current roles.
Nicki Chopski, being in the Executive Director position for a year now is the first woman to serve in this position. She can also quickly reflect back to one of her own mentors with the Board of Pharmacy, who was the first female investigator in Idaho, not so long ago.
Brenda (Story) LaDue, has been serving as the Veterans Integrated Service Network Pharmacy Executive for the Pacific Northwest Regionfor the past decade. In this Executive position she is just one of 18 holding such positions within the Federal Government, representing the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Within her region, Dr. LaDue has oversight for a total of eight VA Medical Centers and their pharmacies spanning eleven different campus locations across 4 states - Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. She also has primary oversight for the region’s Academic Detailing Program, a significant role in itself. What is significant about this is that Dr. LaDue is the first woman to serve in these roles for our region.
Kelley Curtis has now been the Chief Pharmacy Officer for the largest Health System and employer in Idaho for over 3 years now. St. Luke's is a recognized top 15 health-system in the country with well over 300 hundred employees in the pharmacy department alone. She is also the first woman CPO in Idaho and most likely many other states currently.
Barb Mason, ISU College of Pharmacy Professor, remembers being just the second female faculty member ever when she was appointed to the University of South Dakota State's College of Pharmacy just a few years ago.
ISHP has been a little more ahead of the game with the naming of the first female president of the society back in 1964 with Frenchie Jensen (just the 5th president overall of the society). Since then women have held the top role at ISHP for 13 terms spanning up to 5 years each, with the 14th occurring this Fall with the naming of Andrea Winterswyk, as the new ISHP president!
ISHP Past Presidents (ISHP established 1956)
1964 - Franchot (Frenchie) Jensen
1967 - Sister Mechtilde Curti
1968 - Robin Kinsey
1980 - Dorothy Galloway
1982 - Carla Dirk
1990 - Tami Eide
1996 - Shawna Kittridge
1998 - Barb Mason
2002 - Debbie (Heckathorn) Rothstein
2010 - Sue Heineman
2014 - Angela Melbihess
2015 - Debbie (Heckathorn) Rothstein
2017 - Lindsay Kaster
2020 - Andrea Winterswyk
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