History of the Kentucky Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Est. 1960

The Beginning

On a typical Kentucky spring day in 1960, four pharmacists convened during the Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) meeting to discuss issues facing hospital pharmacy and the possibility of establishing a statewide hospital pharmacists organization. These four pharmacists and their positions were: Carl E. Beck, Chief Pharmacists of Central Baptist Hospital , Lexington; Eugene Blasi, Pharmacy Director of the two Baptist Hospitals in Louisville; Frank Elsen, District Manager of Pfizer; and Tom Patterson, Director of Pharmacy at the VA Hospital, Louisville.

What initiated these men to form a new pharmacy society in Kentucky? Carl Beck says, "It was something whose time had come. Everything had fallen into place.”

Carl’s administrator Homer Coggins, M.D. had recently been elected president of KHA and was encouraging all department heads to join or establish their own statewide professional organizations.

During these early formative years, hospital pharmacists would meet during the KHA meeting, KHA would supply a room for their meeting, and the pharmacists would supply speakers and lunch.

Affiliation with ASHP

On Sunday, May 21, 1962, hospital pharmacists from throughout Kentucky met at the new University of Kentucky Medical Center ni Lexington to form an American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP) affiliated state chapter, the Kentucky Society of Hospital Pharmacists (KSHP). Approximately forty pharmacists attended this historic event.

The principal objective of this select group of pharmacists was not too different from the goals of the society today – to improve pharmacy services to hospitalized patients in the state.

Joseph Oddis, Executive Secretary of ASHP, spoke on "The Role of Affiliated Chapters in Hospital Pharmacy Progress,” and moderated a panel discussion on "The Elements of a Successful Hospital Pharmacy Organization.” Other panelists were Joe Silverman, Chief Pharmacist, Veterans Administration Hospital, Lexington.

Temporary officers for the group were selected. Carl E. Beck, Chief Pharmacists at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington was appointed Chairman, and Bertram Newhall, Chief Pharmacists at Jewish Hospital in Louisville was named Secretary.

The group also made a commitment to develop and maintain liaisons with other state organizations, specifically the Kentucky Hospital Association and the Kentucky Pharmacists Association.

Thus concluded the organization meeting of the Kentucky Society of Hospital Pharmacists making KSHP the 56th Affiliated Chapter of ASHP.

Hospital Pharmacy Practice in Kentucky : A Historical Perspective

It has been estimated that in the early 1960’s only fifty percent of American hospitals had a full-time or even a part-time pharmacists on staff. When KSHP formed, less than twenty-five percent of the hospitals in the state had a pharmacy or licensed pharmacist within the institution, placing Kentucky below an already low national average. The passage of federal and state legislation in the 1960’s aided hospital pharmacy growth and development in Kentucky.

The Medicare Act of 1965 required that pharmacies be directed by pharmacists and acknowledged the importance of a pharmacy and therapeutics committee. In fact, federal officials required a hospital to have a medical staff committee that conferred with a pharmacist on drug policies.

Since all pharmacies in the state, whether retail or hospital, were to be directed by a pharmacists, KSHP lobbied heavily for a bill to mandate the licensure of hospital pharmacies. This bill was strongly opposed by KHA, who feared that this could lead to mandatory licensure of other individual hospital departments. Carl Beck recalls, "KHA did not want another regulatory body licensing within their institution.” A heated debate took place between legislators, physicians, and pharmacists. Carl recalls comments from one physician suggesting "there is absolutely no need a pharmacist in a hospital setting” instigating a rebuttal from the then U.K. Medical Center Director of Pharmacy Paul Parker.

However, despite opposition, on March 14, 1966 House Bill 469 passed by a 51-34 vote to allow the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy to license hospital pharmacies.

In 1966, twenty-five percent of hospitals had pharmacies licensed, but due to these legislative milestones and other regulatory standards, today that figure has risen to one hundred percent.


In 1961, ASHP reported only three Kentucky pharmacists as members of the society. Upon formation of KSHP that same year, fifteen members were initiated into KSHP and ASHP. By 1962, forty-six Kentucky pharmacists were reported as ASHP members. In 1989 KSHP topped the entrants in the ASHP affiliated state chapter growth competition. KSHP posted an overall gain in total ASHP membership of 18.% and was awarded the first-place prize of $500.

Today, KSHP boasts around 300 members, with hopes of continued growth.

However, KSHP can not only be proud of the quantity of KSHP members but they can also be proud of the quality of those members. The society membership roll boasts many former and current leaders in pharmacy practice.

A review of KSHP’s former presidents reveals the type of leaders who formed the society’s strong foundation. Two former KSHP presidents have also held the presidency of ASHP. Paul Baumgartner and Clifford E. Hynniman, while other former presidents and members have een selected to serve on many ASHP councils and committees.

The Society Logo

In the early years of KSHP Gloria Coughty was approached by the KSHP president to become the chairman of the "Committee on Seals.” The main objective of this committee was to present the society with ideas for a society logo, a symbol of their commitment to hospital pharmacy.

The logo that was selected represents KSHP’s commitment to three aspects of pharmacy: service; education; and research. Each component of the logo represents one of these three aspects. The logo is present on each KSHP newsletter header.

Service is represented by the Bowl of Hygeia. Hygeia was the daughter of Aescalapius, the father of medicine, and prepared ointments and medications for her father when he treated patients on the battlefield.

The inverted boomerangs that have been the symbol of the University of Kentucky Medical Center since its dedication represent research. The sculpture was originally made by a Japanese artist by the name of Brioshi and is called by that name.

The Torch of Enlightenment, which is positioned in the center of the logo is the symbol for education. The three components are comprised within a curved triangle signifying that all components are necessary to complete the whole.

Legislative and Practice Milestones

The first major legislative achievement in Kentucky for hospital pharmacy occurred with the passage of House Bill 469 in 1966. As mentioned earlier, this bill was supported and heavily lobbied for by KSHP.

Shortly after the passage of House Bill 469, KSHP gained legislative representation through the election of hospital pharmacists and KSHP member Gloria Doughty to the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy. The appearance of a hospital pharmacist on the Board of Pharmacy would not occur for another 15 years. During her years on the board, Gloria participated in the passage of a landmark bill mandating continuing education as a requirement for licensure renewal.

During the early 1970’s, KSHP developed guidelines for hospital practice in Kentucky. These guidelines were formerly published in 1982 as the "Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Services in Kentucky Hospitals” and were supported by the Board of Pharmacy and KPhA. However, there still remained no specific legislation pertaining directly to hospital practice in Kentucky.

In more recent years KSHP has made a commitment to the formation and passage of legislation for institutional pharmacy practice in Kentucky. In 1987, after several years of work, KSHP proposed its first draft of an institutional practice regulation to the board of pharmacy. After many hearings and rewritings, the regulations "Pharmacy Services in Kentucky Hospitals” were enacted by the board in 1989. Again in 1990, KSHP sponsored the adoption of the policy "Distribution f Legend IV and Irrigation Solutions.”

KSHP continues to be active in Kentucky’s legislative process and is currently working in cooperation with KPhA and the Board of Pharmacy on legislation outlining the duties and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians and a proposed rewriting of the Pharmacy Practice Act.

Meeting the Future

The foresight and leadership abilities of former KSHP Presidents, board members, and committee chairs have allowed the society to grow and prosper. Just as their accomplishments have forged a path to the present, the society’s present goals and objectives will provide direction to the future.

As stated by Past President Tim Pence, "Our task, as an organization, is to cultivate a vision of the future and structure our actions to move in that direction.”