President's Message

by Avery Spunt, ICHP President
January 6, 2009

This past weekend a pharmacist friend and I watched the Michigan football game where Purdue beat Michigan 48- 42. My friend was in a great mood given that Michigan had now lost five games in a row and would break their string of consecutive post season Bowl appearances. He just continued to rant on how he hated the University of Michigan and how he was not too fond of Purdue either. I finally had to stop him and get serious and turn the discussion to pharmacy. I understand not liking the Michigan and Purdue football programs. However, hating all of University of Michigan and Purdue is not necessary.

Do you realize the impact of the colleges of pharmacy of both of these schools on our profession? Do you realize their impact on our practice model and on our Health-System Associations? He became very serious and stated, “No but I am quite sure you are about to start lecturing me.”

Yes, it really all starts with Harvey A.K. Whitney who was born in 1894 in Adrian, Michigan. Like so many of us, he worked in the local drugstore during high school. Upon graduation, he worked in a bank for a year. He left the banking job to become a pharmacy apprentice in 1913 and worked as a pharmacy apprentice for three years until 1916, when he then went to Detroit to work in the auto industry as a die design draftsmen. He left this position to serve in the Army Medical Corp until World War I was over. When he returned from the war, he enrolled in the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. He was seen as a leader during his college days as he was an active member of Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Chi and is credited with suggesting the name of the pharmacy honor society, Rho Chi. Not only did he suggest the name, but he designed the society’s seal and key which members still wear today.

In 1925, at age 30, Mr. Whitney began his prestigious hospital pharmacy career, which would begin to shape the specialization of this practice for decades to come when he was added to the pharmacy staff at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. In 1927 he was named Chief Pharmacist, and a few months later he started the first recognized internship in hospital pharmacy that would transform over the course of his tenure into a residency in hospital pharmacy. Other innovations started by Mr. Whitney included the formulary system, prepacked medications coded and dated, drug product selection, drug information center, and published pharmacy bulletins.

Mr. Whitney held various positions in state and local associations. He was a very active member of APhA, and in 1936 he lead a group of hospital pharmacist to lobby APhA to start a sub section devoted to hospital pharmacy practice. Over the next six years much politicking transpired between the members regarding the need to elevate the sub section to a full section or to start a new separate organization. In 1942 a new organization emerged from APhA and it was called American Society of Hospital Pharmacists; Mr. Whitney was the first Chair. He then left the University of Michigan in 1944 to join the war effort.

Mr. Whitney was replaced by one of his former residents, Donald Francke. Don Francke worked in his father’s pharmacy until attending the University of Michigan where he graduated with a BS in Pharmacy in 1936. After his residency at UM under Whitney, he attended Purdue and earned a MS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry; three years later Purdue conferred an honorary doctorate degree on him. Don Francke was Director of Pharmacy services from 1944 to 1963 at the University of Michigan Hospital. Mr. Francke, following in Mr. Whitney’s footsteps, was also a major pioneer in hospital pharmacy and the clinical pharmacy movement. He was one of the premier editors of pharmacy literature. From 1945 to 1958, he was editor of the Bulletin of the American Society of Hospital Pharmacy, in 1958 the title of the journal changed to the American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (AJHP) and he remained editor until 1966. In 1963, he released the first edition of American Hospital Formulary Services (AHFS), and in 1967 he published a new journal named Drug Intelligence, which was later changed to Drug Intelligence and Clinical Pharmacy. This journal gave him a means to promote expanding clinical roles for hospital pharmacists, and the journal articles gave the readers the clinical knowledge needed for these expanding roles.

The University of Michigan residency program which was started by Whitney and advanced by Francke is legendary as they produced so many pharmacy leaders which included Warren McConnell, Paul Parker, George Phillips, John Zugich, Paul Pierpaoli, and Richard Hutchinson to mention a few.

Two of these former residents of the University of Michigan migrated to Chicago in the late 70s/early 80s, and they changed how pharmacy was practiced in Illinois. Dr. Hutchinson (Hutch) at the University of Illinois Hospital and Mr. Pierpaoli at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center were two men who had such an impact on so many of us, but that is a story for another day.

I ended with, “So you see, my friend, we may not like Michigan football, but we owe so much to the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy.”

News » Public News » President's Message »