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09/16/2022

NACDS appoints two directors to help advance its pro-pharmacy agenda

Kate Ilahi and Whitney Jones are directors of congressional relations within the government affairs team at NACDS.
Hannah Esper
Managing Editor
Hannah Esper profile picture

In August, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) welcomed Kate Ilahi and Whitney Jones, each to the role of director of congressional relations within the government affairs team.

Both women were appointed to the role because of their experience on Capitol Hill to help advance the associa­tion’s pro-patient, pro-pharmacy agenda.

[Read more: NACDS amplifies campaign highlighting pharmacy’s value]

In making the announcement, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said: “Kate and Whitney will bring tremendous experience and energy to their roles. Kate has advanced healthcare issues vital to vulnerable Americans — issues on which NACDS is highly engaged. Whitney has led a vast legislative and regulatory portfolio in a congressional leadership office setting.”

Here’s a bit of an introduction to Ilahi and Jones.

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Kate Ilahi

Drug Store News: What are your top priorities as you come into this new role at NACDS?

Kate Ilahi: I am extremely excited to be joining the NACDS GR team. Since the pandemic started, our chain community pharmacies have played an increasingly important and reliable role in providing access to healthcare services in a safe and trusted environment. My top priorities in starting this new role are twofold: First, I look forward to getting to know all of our amazing and diverse members; and secondly, I am excited to kick start my new role by doing some old-fashioned shoe leather lobbying and meeting with old and new friends on Capitol Hill to discuss NACDS’s policy priorities.

Whitney Jones: Getting to know our members and working closely with their teams is a top priority for me. NACDS has done an incredible job of sharing pharmacy’s ability to optimize patient access and wellness, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.

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Whitney Jones

DSN: How will you use your congressional experience on the Hill to help patients and pharmacies?

KI: My prior experience working on Capitol Hill has been instrumental in shaping the way I do my job today. When working on Capitol Hill you are exposed to a variety of different stakeholders, who are all trying to convince you to advance their priorities. As a hill staffer, I quickly recognized that the most effective lobbyists and advocates are those who are passionate, persistent, reliable and honest. I believe these qualities are essential in cultivating and maintaining strong working relationships on Capitol Hill to get things done. This is what I will bring to the table when advocating on behalf of our members.

[Read more: Michigan pharmacy school makes historic appointment]

WJ: I look forward to advocating for patients and the pharmacies they rely on by using my background at the state and federal levels to help navigate the complexities of government on their behalf. I plan to utilize this knowledge in the role each day.

DSN: What is one fun fact you could share about yourself to the DSN audience?

KI: I was born and raised in Louisiana, and despite living in the D.C. area for over 15 years, I still consider myself a loyal Louisiana ex-pat at heart. I love to cook gumbo and crawfish etouffee for our family and friends, and recently taught my daughter’s kindergarten class how to properly celebrate Mardi Gras with a king cake and a second line.

WJ: I have two citrus trees — lemon and lime! I’ve really enjoyed growing them and sharing with family and friends.

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