History of the ABHP Recognition Program
by John E. Clark
The Association also began its awards program by recognizing students and practitioners for meritorious services to the profession and the community. Dr. Allen L. Brown was appointed the first Chairperson of the Committee. The ABHP established the Student Achievement Award and the Practitioner of the Year Award and presented them to the first recipients on December 7, 1983. Criteria for the student award included: scholarship, community involvement, demonstrations of professionalism and potential to provide quality pharmaceutical care. Criteria for the Practitioner award included: service to the community/profession, leadership, advancement of minority involvement in pharmacy, and contributions to institutional pharmacy or the literature. Mr. Monroe Mack was the first recipient of the Practitioner of the Year Award and Ms. Vernita Hawkins of the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy was the first recipient of the Student Achievement Award. Ms. Hawkins was recognized for her outstanding scholarly achievements and her fine leadership potential. In keeping with its initial objectives of supporting black pharmacy students, ABHP also gave donations to the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) for their Student Scholarship Fund.
ABHP first attempt at addressing minority health care issues on a national and international level began with educational programs about cancer. AIDS/HIV was added to the list of healthcare concerns. In keeping with its initial goals, ABHP began recognizing individuals who were helping to bring attention to HIV/AIDS education in the black community. ABHP recognized two major national advocates of HIV/AIDS education. In 1987, Dr. Frederick G. Adams and Dr. Rudolph E. Jackson were both recognized at the ABHP Annual Luncheon, December 8, 1987, in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1989, ABHP teamed with Pfizer-Roerig Pharmaceuticals to recognize those pharmacists who were the "Grass Roots" practitioners on whom the departmental operations often depended. Quite often these individuals would not have an opportunity to attend the annual meetings of the ABHP nor the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meetings. The grass roots award was named the "Unheralded Pharmacist Award" to be presented yearly at the Annual Luncheon of the ABHP. It included an inscribed plaque and a cash award.
December 10, 1997, the first annual Wendell T. Hill Award is presented to Dr. Arcelia Johnson-Fannin, Dean Hampton University, College of Pharmacy. The award, named in honor of the first African American President of the American Society of Health-system Pharmacists (ASHP), gives recognition to an individual who, through their dedication, interest and enthusiasm, has made significant contribution to the practice of pharmacy.
December 2002, the first Allen L. Brown Cardiovascular Lecture is presented. Named in honor of one the ABHP’s most admired charter member, the lecture series attempts to solicit recently completed research papers from pharmacy residents or undergraduate students focusing on healthcare disparities affecting minorities with emphasis on cardiovascular diseases.
In 2009, ABHP became the first pharmacy association to present an award in recognition George “Mickey” Leland, the first African American pharmacist in the U.S. Senate. The Mickey Leland Political Achievement Award recognizes an individual, a team of individuals, or an organization that has performed special service in state or national political and legislative affairs that strengthen, improve, and further the interests of the ABHP and pharmacists in general. The award is given to those individuals who best personify the spirit of Mickey Leland and whose work have a significant impact on the community at large. Mickey Leland graduated from Texas Southern University (TSU) School of Pharmacy in 1970. While attending TSU, Leland became a vocal leader of the civil rights movement and continued to be a champion for the poor and the dis-empowered throughout his brilliant political career. The first recipient of the award was U.S. Senator, Shelia Jackson Lee, who succeeded Mickey Leland in representing his district in Houston, Texas.