SAN DIEGO —Capping nearly 20 years of service to the nation’s oldest professional pharmacy organization, John Gans said he will retire as executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Pharmacists Association in 2009.
Gans, APhA’s top executive since 1989 and one of pharmacy’s most respected and influential leaders, revealed plans to retire from the 156-year-old association. He discussed those plans March 17 while attending the final session of the APhA 2008 Annual Meeting and Exposition House of Delegates.
APhA’s board of directors has retained The Miles LeHane Co. to manage the search for a replacement for the well-known pharmacy leader. That new organization chief should be in place early next year, organization leaders predict.
During his long tenure, Gans has overseen the evolution of APhA from a professional organization focused largely on clinical pharmacy issues, licensing, pharmacy education and professional standards, to a more broadly focused and engaged entity. Professional and clinical issues are still of critical concern to the venerable organization—and it continues to represent the professional and practice-standards side of pharmacy across all practice settings, from community pharmacy to hospital and institutional pharmacy. But increasingly, APhA is linked with other groups at the front lines of a defining struggle within pharmacy for greater professional recognition and reimbursement.
Through such umbrella groups as the Coalition for Community Pharmacy and such grass-roots initiatives as Project Destiny, Gans has led APhA into alliances with such other organizations as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association in a massive effort to change the fundamental, underlying perceptions of payers, politicians, policymakers and the public at large regarding the value of retail pharmacy.
In the process, Gans has emerged as a visible spokesman for issues like fair Medicaid reimbursement and the right of retail pharmacists to compound. And APhA has become more effective at leveraging the lobbying power and influence of the more than 63,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others who comprise the group’s membership.
Prior to joining APhA, Gans was dean of the School of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, where he earned his pharmacy degree in 1966 and his doctorate in pharmacy in 1969.
“Leading APhA for almost 20 years has been a sincere privilege and honor, he said. “Also, I am very proud that APhA continues to identify, create and support opportunities for pharmacists to make a difference in the lives of patients.”
Organization leaders said they’re working on plans for a leadership transition. “For the last two decades, Dr. Gans has provided valuable leadership for APhA,” said Timothy Tucker, who succeeded Winnie Landis as president of the association for 2008-2009 during the meeting in San Diego. “He has been instrumental in facilitating opportunities for pharmacists to provide patient-focused care, leading efforts to move pharmacists toward a viable patient care model for the future.”