About OSHP


OSHP was founded in 1953 by Frank Hollister, a young pharmacist who started out working at a downtown Portland prescription pharmacy but then later became a staff pharmacist at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was the first to convene a small group of pharmacists interested in hospital practice. The group’s desire to start a society was influenced by members’ attendance at an ASHP hospital pharmacy institute meeting held in California that same year. Probably, at Mr. Hollister’s instigation, his superior, Charles Harlocker, was elected the first president of the society. The organization was named the Society of Hospital Pharmacists in the State of Oregon in those days.

Most but not all early members were engaged in hospital pharmacy. Some worked at prescription pharmacies while others were representatives of ethical drug manufacturers. All lived in the Portland area. Meetings were usually held monthly in the evenings. Staff members of various hospitals around town would take turns hosting meetings at their practice sites. As is still true today, the agenda typically included a short business meeting followed by a professional speaker, sometimes a physician, who would talk about some aspect of professional practice or research, or give a basic lecture in one of the medical disciplines. The meeting would conclude with light refreshments. Usually there was no hospital budget for this kind of gathering, so the host pharmacists would buy a cake, doughnuts, or cookies and then talk the hospital’s food service department into providing a pot of coffee.

It wasn’t long before word of these Portland meetings spread and pharmacists from out-of-town started showing up for them. In that way the society grew. Formal affiliation with ASHP came in the 1960’s, after which the society’s name changed twice to reflect the association. It was the Oregon Society of Hospital Pharmacists for a number of years before it became what it is today in 1996, the Oregon Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Ethical drug manufacturers were early supporters of the hospital pharmacy movement. Salesmen worked closely with pharmacists to find and deliver medicines needed by hospitals. Early on they also, as drug manufacturers still do today, often sponsored educational dinners and seminars for pharmacists. That tradition continues today. OSHP with the aid of its sponsors provides top-notch CE through regular chapter meetings and twice yearly CE-packed seminars.

In 1998 OSHP united with the Oregon State Pharmacy Association (OSPA) and the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) to form the Statewide Pharmacy Coalition. Together the three organizations retain a lobbyist and lend a stronger, more coherent presence in the legislature on initiatives that affect the practice of pharmacy in Oregon. OSHP has lobbied and continues to lobby on rulings related to the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, Tech-check-Tech, technician licensure, and therapeutic drug interchange.

The society has stayed busy over the years in other important ways. Since 1988 it has been a supporter of the Oregon Pharmacist Recovery Network. Members were instrumental in bringing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to Oregon both by proctoring the exam and by establishing training programs for technicians interested in taking it. Members have also worked closely with the OSU School of Pharmacy. They teach classes and act as mentors to pharmacy students.

In 2002 the Society enlisted the aid of an office management company, Update Management, to take over the day-to-day tasks of running the organization as well as to help plan larger events. This decision will likely be viewed as the seminal step that spurred OSHP’s evolution from a humble gathering of dedicated Portland pharmacists to a statewide society that can provide opportunities to its members on a scale Mr. Hollister could not have imagined.