St. Louis independent nabs annual Wurster Award

Award honors pharmacy for outstanding community leadership and involvement

SEATTLE — Chris Geronsin, owner of Beverly Hills Pharmacy in St. Louis, was honored with Cardinal Health’s Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award during the closing ceremonies at the Cardinal Health annual Retail Business Conference in Seattle on Friday, Aug. 9, at the Washington State Convention Center.

“[Geronsin] is an individual who personifies what this award means,” said Chris Lanctot, Cardinal Health VP of independent sales, in making the announcement. “When it comes to his community, he goes above and beyond. His pharmacy provides specialized service like unit-dose packaging and 24-hour emergency service at no charge to St. Vincent’s Home for Children,” he said. “He is a major contributor to the Helena Hatch Special Care Center, which provides a safe haven for women with HIV.”

Geronsin actively partners with local healthcare entities on the delivery of care. That kind of commitment prompted the St. Louis chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to write this endorsement for Geronsin: “Through our partnership with Beverly Hills Pharmacy, we are able to provide expensive branded asthma and allergy medications for a lower price than any other pharmacy. We have a discounted price for durable [medical] equipment through our relationship with Beverly Hills as well. [And] the pharmacy delivers free of charge to all of our clients even if they live outside the St. Louis area.”

Geronsin was 1-of-5 finalists for the annual Wurster Award, which honors the career and legacy of Tampa, Fla., independent pharmacist Ken Wurster, who passed away in 2008. Wurster, who was highly regarded for his commitment to serving his customers, epitomized the role of a community pharmacist who takes responsibility for the wellness of his community. “Ken left us too soon, but his legacy lives on in the form of this award,” Lanctot said. “It's a living memorial and an example of exactly what independent pharmacy means to our communities, our patients and our families.”

The Wurster Award honors one Cardinal Health independent pharmacy customer for outstanding community leadership and involvement, their ability to inspire others, and their willingness to go above and beyond the day-to-day operations of a retail independent pharmacy.

In honor of his commitment to community service, Cardinal Health donated $10,000 to the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in Geronsin’s name. This year’s runners-up for the Wurster Award included Bhavana Patel of Hina’s Mercy Southwest Pharmacy in Bakersfield, Calif; Joel Rosenfeld of North Florida Pharmacy in Lake City, Fla; Beverly Schaefer of Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy in Seattle; and Paula Wakeland of Hewitt-Davidson Drugs in Sarasota, Fla.

Cardinal Health’s National Retail Advisory Board and a team of Cardinal Health employees evaluated all nominations for this year’s award. The five finalists were sent to an executive committee, including Cardinal Health leadership and NRAB members who together selected Geronsin for his extraordinary community commitment.

Geronsin serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, Cardinal Health National Advisory Board and as president of the Regional Cardinal Health Advisory Board. He also serves as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer for the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and has provided a wide array of volunteer and support services to the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging and the St. Louis Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In addition, Geronsin supports the St. Vincent’s Home for Children, Helena Hatch Special Care Center and A Network of Communities of the Poor, helping to build 40 homes for needy families in the Philippines.

Geronsin will have the opportunity to pass his legacy along to the next generation. Earlier in the day he attended Cardinal Health’s Women in Pharmacy event with his daughter, Rachel, a recent pharmacy graduate.

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