Pharmacy Practice

Pharmacists Belong in the C-Suite

Kate Traynor
Kate Traynor Senior Writer, ASHP News Center Published: June 26, 2023
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ASHP’s Pharmacists in C-Suites (PICS) Advisory Panel convened June 22 in Bethesda, Maryland, and took the first steps toward increasing the profession’s representation in executive positions at hospitals and health systems.

“This meeting was a great opportunity for pharmacists who have already moved into executive roles at hospitals to collaborate and talk about why they’ve pursued these roles and what they have learned,” said Michael Sanborn, chief growth officer at Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, Texas, and one of the 12-member advisory panel’s two co-chairs.

The panel was charged with advising ASHP on emerging C-suite leadership opportunities for pharmacists and helping to prepare pharmacists who might one day aspire to these executive positions. The group also shared ideas about how executive-level pharmacists can contribute to the continued advancement of pharmacy practice.

Although it’s not unusual nowadays for pharmacists to step up to C-suite positions in healthcare, there’s no established roadmap for this career. ASHP created PICS, in part, to learn from pharmacists who have succeeded as C-suite executives, build on their experiences, and establish tools and resources to support current and future executives.

“There are many, many challenges that we’re all collectively dealing with in different ways,” Sanborn said. “Today’s meeting was great, because we shared some ideas from others that we can actually go back and use at our own organizations.”

ASHP launched PICS in September of 2022. ASHP describes PICS as a peer-focused membership home for C-suite executives and a forum for providing strategic direction on executive leadership to ASHP and its members.

PICS Advisory Panel Co-chair Tad Gomez, president of the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, said it’s critical for the profession to collaborate on a pathway for more pharmacists to become executive decision-makers.

“Pharmacists are uniquely trained to handle all the complexities of modern healthcare,” Gomez noted. He said he’s excited about the mentorship and networking opportunities PICS is already providing its members.

During the inaugural meeting, the panelists emphasized the need for educational materials and networking opportunities to help pharmacists recognize and work toward executive-level positions. Other discussion topics included:

  • Helping pharmacy leaders ensure that their departmental initiatives align, clinically and politically, with organizational and C-suite priorities
  • Defining and supporting skill sets pharmacy leaders need to shape and influence organizational priorities
  • Identifying continuing professional development needs of pharmacists who are transitioning to C-suite leadership positions
  • Fostering collaboration and engagement between PICS and pharmacy executives to support and advance high-level leadership opportunities
  • Optimizing unique services and networking opportunities for ASHP and PICS members that align with the needs and priorities of executive leaders

The panelists also addressed key advocacy concerns, including support for the 340B Drug Pricing Program, workforce issues, artificial intelligence and data sciences, length of stay and post-acute care, and engagement with payers.


The group has scheduled additional meetings for the months ahead, and the co-chairs said they’re eager for the PICS membership to expand and to include different hospital settings.

“We know that there’s lots of pharmacists in these kinds of executive roles in smaller hospitals,” Gomez explained. “Their titles might be different, but we’re all doing the same work. We want to connect with pharmacists in all kinds of venues, because while some of the challenges may be different, a lot of them are the same.”

Posted June 26, 2023

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