ABHP Annual Luncheon
The Annual Luncheon and Reception served as major social events for African Americans attending the ASHP Mid-Year Clinical Meeting (MCM). Traditionally there had not been such an event at the MCM. The small number of African Americans who attended the MCM would gather at local restaurants and night clubs in the various cities where the ASHP meeting was held. When the group started to form as an organization, the luncheon and reception became the gathering venues where many African Americans look forward to attending when at the ASHP MCM. As the ASHP MCM attendance began to increase, the news and information about the Annual Luncheon and Reception began to be distributed in advance, the numbers attending the luncheon and reception also started increasing over time. There were several Luncheons where the planning group underestimated the attendance. Many students and pharmacists who were not on the ABHP contact list came to the ABHP events. Although they were all welcome, on a few occasions there were not enough space to accommodate those interested in attending the luncheon.
The Annual Luncheon was also used as a venue and forum to advance the goals and objectives of the ABHP. For several years, ABHP attracted several national and international renowned authorities who participated in the annual luncheon and addressed a variety of subjects, including healthcare access and disparities, organizational involvement, professional roles and development of black pharmacists, business, health care awareness, government and political issues, educational concerns, national and international networking, and many others.
The 5th Annual Meeting and Luncheon was held in Los Angles, California at the ASHP MCM in December 1982. Over 75 African American pharmacists attend the Luncheon, which was a large audience during that time. The program format included a well-known keynote speaker and a well-known African American pharmacist reactor panel. The keynote speaker was James G. Haughton, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Director of Charles R. Drew Post-Graduate Medical School in Los Angeles. Dr. Haughton had a highly acclaimed career record as a public health administrator. The theme of his speech was “Health Care Legislation: It’s Impact on the Minority Health Care Practitioner.” He stressed to the attendees the importance of involvement in the political process and a gave several examples of less-than-optimal legislation that had a negative impact on minority and underserved patient populations and the minority practitioners who served them. The panel that reacted to the Dr. Haughton speech included Dr. Robert D. Gipson (Associate Dean for Student Affairs, UCSF; later past President of the APhA), Percy R McClain (President of the NPhA), and Charles Walker, Sr. (President of the Central Lost Angles Pharmaceutical Association). They all emphasized the importance of active participation in the political process and the monitoring of legislation and the impact on pharmacy education, potential opportunities for pharmacists, and the provision of health care to minority communities.
On December 7, 1983, the ABHP held its Annual Luncheon at the Atlanta Hilton during the ASHP Mid-year Clinical Meeting. Two well-known dignitaries were invited, which drew over 130 African American pharmacists, students, and guests. Mayor Andrew Young gave the welcome address to the visitors and spoke about the importance of the social responsibility of minority organizations such as ABHP. He also praised minority pharmacists for the important roles that they play in healthcare and encouraged them to be strong role models for the young people. The keynote speaker was Georgia State Senator Julian Bond, who gave a state of union type address on the conditions of blacks in America in 1983 in comparison to 20 years ago. He encouraged mass participation in the social and political process as it was during the Civil Rights movement.
The 7th Annual ABHP Luncheon was held in Dallas, Texas on December 5, 1984. The ABHP hosted its first international guest at the Annual Luncheon. The keynote speaker was Dr. Lester L. Woolery, Director of Pharmaceutical Services and Chief Technical Officer for Jamaica Ministry of Health. Dr. Woolery focused on the importance of developing relationships and solidarity between the black pharmacists of the United States and the black pharmacists in Third World countries. His administrative responsibilities included advising the government of Jamaica on policies relating to drugs and administration of food and drug laws, control of dangerous drugs, narcotics, and controlled substances. Over 150 members and guests were in attendance, making it one of the largest luncheon events planned by the ABHP.
The 10th Annual Luncheon of the ABHP was held on December 9, 1987 at the ASHP MCM in Atlanta, Georgia. The keynote speaker was Dr. John W. Diggs, Director of Extramural Activities and Infectious Diseases, NIH. He spoke about the “AIDS and the Role of the Black Pharmacist.” Dr. Diggs topic was a timely one and well suited and aligned with the ABHP goals and objectives. The first case of AIDS reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was in 1981, four years after the formation of the ABHP. At the time of Dr. Diggs presentation, the death toll for AIDS victims was at an all-time high with approximately 16,908 reported deaths. Dr. Diggs recommendations to the members was that ABHP should: (1) take the lead on the campaign to address AIDS in the minority communities; (2) take advantage of the black pharmacist unique position and relationships with hospitals, pharmaceutical industry, physicians, and other pharmacists to develop a plan of action to network, to lobby, and to serve as a resource for the development of AIDS materials that are culturally relevant to the black community. There was much agreement with his recommendation, and it was acknowledged by a long stand ovation from the audience. At that point, the AIDS/HIV topic remained on the list of diseases that ABHP attempted to address for many years thereafter.
The ABHP 11th Annual Meeting was held, December 7, 1988, in Dallas, Texas during the ASHP MCM. During what was one of the largest attended Annual Luncheon, Dr. Deborah B. Prothrow-Stith, Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, addressed the subject of “Health Care Problems and Issues.” Her address was a targeted appeal for black health care professional to serve as role models to reach at risk youth who may not be aware and sensitive to the health issues confronting the black community.
The ABHP 17th Annual Meeting at the ASHP MCM was held in Miami Beach, Florida on December 5-7, 1994. The activities at the MCM included the ABHP Executive Meeting, the Business Meeting (Member Forum), Exhibit Program, Annual Luncheon, and Annual Reception. The keynote speaker at the Annual Luncheon was Mr. Ira C. Clark, Chief Executive Officer for the Jackson Health System.
The 18th Annual Meeting of the ABHP at the ASHP MCM was held in Las Vegas, NV on December 4-6, 1995. In addition to the Executive Committee meeting, Luncheon, and reception, ABHP also hosted a 3-hour CE program. The keynote speaker for the Annual Luncheon was Dr. Hewitt “Ted” Matthews, Dean of the Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Matthews address was the “Current and Future Trends in Pharmacy Education.”
The keynote speaker at the Annual Luncheon of the 19th Annual Meeting of the ABHP was Mr. Willie Horton, Manager of Housing and Compliance in the Department of Economic and Community Development for the City of Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Horton gave a very different address from previous speakers. Not only was he a local government official, but also a trained actor. He performed in numerous stage plays, including the one-man play about Dr. Martin Luther King, called Martin. His vocal similarity to Dr. King was arousing to many of those present. He also had a part in the critically acclaimed movie, Mississippi Burning, and had a weekly television series entitled, Voice of Goodwill from 1981-1984 in Jackson.