Herman Lee Lazarus, longtime pharmacy director at the University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics, died May 18, 2023. He was 82 years old.
Lazarus served as ASHP’s president in 1985–1986 and was an active ASHP member for more than 50 years, serving on committees and councils and as a member the ASHP Board of Directors. He was a manuscript reviewer for AJHP and an author or co-author of several reports in the journal, covering topics in hospital administration, expansion of pharmacy services, outsourcing, and pharmacy education and training.
“Herman Lazarus was an inspirational leader who for many years helped drive advancement of our profession. His passion, energy, and optimism stimulated many others to excel. I will remember Herman as a colleague, mentor, and friend,” said ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Abramowitz. “ASHP benefitted greatly from his vision and contributions.”
ASHP past president and fellow board of directors member Roger W. Anderson praised Lazarus’s positive influence ASHP and pharmacy practice.
“Herman always exhibited strong professional ideals in all practice areas,” Anderson said. “Specifically, he was a thought leader as we developed early standards for residency training in the rapidly growing clinical practice area.”
As president-elect, Lazarus was a key participant in the February 1985 ASHP/ASHP Foundation-sponsored conference on directions for clinical pharmacy practice — a three-day event known as the Hilton Head conference.
His remarks about the conference, which were published in the June 1985 issue of AJHP, said the event confirmed the profession’s commitment to an outcomes-focused, patient-oriented philosophy of practice. He also underscored the need for pharmacists to exercise leadership in setting “standards of quality in drug therapy.”
Max Ray, who directed the conference, recalled conversations he and Lazarus had during that meeting. "Herman was clearly impressed by the optimism and vision expressed by conference participants, and he noted that he felt pharmacy had turned a corner,” Ray said.
Lazarus’s forward-thinking vision was also evident in his 1993 John W. Webb Lecture, which called on hospitals to restructure themselves in ways that energize the professionalism of staff to better meet the needs of a changing healthcare environment.
Lazarus was born Jan. 11, 1941, in McComb, Mississippi, to Herman Leo Lazarus and Rachel (Ballard) Lazarus.
He received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Mississippi in 1964. He married Connie Dianne Welch in 1965 and began a tour of service in the U.S. Army in 1967, serving as chief pharmacist at the U.S. Army hospital in Fort Carson, Colorado.
After completing his military service, Lazarus returned to the University of Mississippi to earn a master’s degree in pharmacy and pursue a career in hospital pharmacy administration. He joined the staff of St. Luke’s/Texas Children’s Hospitals in Houston and was an assistant professor at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.
In 1973, Lazarus was appointed director of pharmacy at the University of Alabama (UAB) Hospitals and Clinics. He remained at the university for 25 years, also serving on the pharmacy faculty at Samford University and Auburn University. In a self-written obituary, Lazarus said his most fulfilling work during those years was cultivating the young pharmacists, residents, and students who grew into world-class providers of patient care.
In 1976, Lazarus served a term as president of the Alabama Society of Hospital Pharmacists. He was later named an honorary member of the society.
Lazarus retired from UAB in 1997 but was soon recruited to the position of vice president of clinical affairs for pharmaceutical wholesaler Cardinal Health. He remained with the organization for a decade and later worked for Massachusetts-based Safecor Health, which provides unit-dose packaging services for hospitals and health systems.
During his retirement, Lazarus enjoyed traveling with his wife and being an active member of the Shades Mountain Baptist Church, which the couple joined after their arrival in Birmingham in 1973.
Lazarus was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in 2019, and he took refuge in his faith and his family during his illness. He is survived by his wife, Dianne; their daughter, Angie; and brothers Jack and Don.