Day two of the 2021 Virtual NACDS Annual Meeting kept with tradition and saw the NACDS chair position passed Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. Lindholz, who was vice chair and treasurer for the past year, had the NACDS chair's gavel virtually passed to her from outgoing chair Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer.
In her first remarks as chair, Lindholz reflected on the industry’s strength throughout the pandemic and stressed the role that NACDS plays in bringing companies together to leverage chain pharmacy’s collective strength.
“When you think about the force that is our NACDS membership group, there is a unique power when we share our story together,” she said. “It is when we are united that we can make the statement: ‘There is a pharmacy located within five miles of 90% of Americans.’ When we work together, that story is true and that story is told. There are things we can do together that we can’t do separately.”
The past year, she said, has been a particularly stark reminder of pharmacy’s ability to thrive under pressure and deliver necessary services. “Throughout this crisis, the government has demanded it. They have wanted to know what our industry can do to provide frictionless, collaborative solutions to help solve the pandemic. They have seen the power of pharmacy.”
Lindholz, who began her career with Kroger in 1998 as a pharmacy manager and has led Kroger Health since 2017, also highlighted the ways that pharmacy’s scope has expanded throughout the pandemic — something she has known would eventually happen when the profession’s value is recognized.
“Those who know me know I’ve always said that it would be our nation’s pharmacists who would step up to serve our country’s healthcare needs when we’ve needed it most,” she said. “And together, you’ve all leaped forward with passion, grace and resolve.”
Lindholz also emphasized the unique connection that pharmacies have with their communities and their collaborative approach to healthcare delivery and access that saw pharmacies working with other healthcare professionals to coordinate care.
“When it comes to the entire universe of professionals who hase had a hand in health and wellness, the saying ‘We're all in this together’ shouldn't be a throwaway line — and we should not throw away this opportunity,” she said.
As she prepares for her year as chair, Lindholz expressed confidence in the unity of the industry.
“I welcome this opportunity to serve as a passionate ambassador for your company and my company, for the strength of chains and suppliers united in this association and for the untapped potential for the American people that exists in a true partnership among all of us,” she said. “I am inspired by the opportunity we have to continue that momentum, and I am humbled to serve in this role alongside of you.”
Steve Anderson, NACDS president and CEO, welcomed Lindholz and thanked Keyes for his time as chair. “Rick Keyes has been a tremendous NACDS chair and industry representative during his tenure. Rick, let me express our industry’s gratitude for your commitment and leadership.”
The morning’s Business Program also featured Michael Sneed, vice president of global corporate affairs and chief communication officer at Johnson & Johnson, who discussed the company’s efforts to address racial disparities in health access and outcomes.