Changing Directions: Honoring Albert Sebok
By Steve Anderson, NACDS president and CEO
This week, I was going to write about some really powerful articles in the November 2013 Health Affairs. They validate community pharmacy’s role in emerging healthcare models, and urge better alignment of federal and state policies to achieve pharmacy’s potential to improve and save lives. However, when I heard of the passing of a true pioneer – who did so much to help create the amazing progress and potential of community pharmacy – I had to change directions on this column.
On November 3, we lost Albert A. Sebok — whom many remember for his work at Standard Drug and then Revco. The fact is that without Albert Sebok, and others like him, community pharmacy would not be part of the healthcare conversation to the significant extent that it is today. We would not have articles like the ones in this month’s Health Affairs if we did not have the Albert Seboks of the world.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to deliver the inaugural Sebok Pharmacy Lecture at The Raabe College of Pharmacy of Ohio Northern University. The establishment of the annual event was one of several honors bestowed on Albert Sebok by his alma mater. This is some of what I said about him on that day:
We are honoring a man whose patient care and corporate career at Revco exemplified the value of pharmacy. Effective consultations and wise operational decisions, stitched together over the course of decades, create an impressive career. But Albert Sebok has accomplished even more than that. His commitment to pharmacy goes far beyond talk of a distinguished career. It also defines what it means to be part of, and to advance, one’s profession.
Albert Sebok is a man who did not just graduate from this great school and move on. He saw to it that he and this school moved on together. Over the course of 60 years, he has given back in many ways, including as an advisor and as a professor, and even as an innovator of a new course of study.
Similarly, we at NACDS are thankful for his engagement in our organization.
Albert Sebok demonstrated that associations, industries and companies derive their strength from their people. He served as chairman of the NACDS Pharmacy Affairs Committee and as chairman of the NACDS Pharmacy Conference. For these contributions among others to NACDS, and for his leadership within community pharmacy, NACDS in 1991 presented him with the prestigious Harold W. Pratt Award.
I think you will agree that changing the direction on this week’s column was the right thing to do. It is vitally important to recognize those who have changed the direction of this association, this great industry and the very nature of pharmacy patient care.