Sara J. White '72 receives College of Pharmacy Lifetime Achievement Award


October 20, 2023

Sara J White
News Story Content

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy alumna Sara J. White, MS ’72, will receive the college’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 20 for her incredible accomplishments and dedication to health-system pharmacy and pharmacy leadership.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors outstanding lifelong accomplishments in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences or public service. Recipients of the award must have completed a degree or postgraduate training at the College of Pharmacy. The award is not given in any regular, repeating time period, but only when truly outstanding candidates are identified. 

White has more than 30 years of experience in health-system pharmacy and pharmacy practice leadership. White retired in 2003 after 11 years as director of pharmacy at Stanford Hospital and 20 years as associate director of pharmacy at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Oregon State University, a master’s degree from the Ohio State College of Pharmacy and an ASHP-accredited residency at the Ohio State Hospitals and Clinics.

White grew up in a very small town in northeastern Oregon. She was fascinated with science in high school, in part because her mother, who worked as an army nurse in World War II, spoke often about a “wonder drug” she administered as an investigational injection (that turned out to be penicillin). The concept that prior to penicillin, the only drugs being administered were sulfa drugs, and her mom’s amazement of the advancement in medicine, encouraged White to consider a career in pharmacy.

During her tenure as a pharmacy leader, White developed and implemented many innovative pharmacy services, made strides in staff development and nurtured positive relationships with nurses and physicians. Specifically, White was instrumental in developing, implementing and leading comprehensive computerized clinical and distributive pharmacy services, which included computerized prescriber order entry and unit-based drug distribution automation. She has also been recognized with numerous national awards for her efforts in championing leadership development for pharmacists at all stages of their careers.

White has held many leadership roles throughout her career, including serving as president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) in 1996, chair of the ASHP Women in Pharmacy Leadership Steering Committee, chair of the ASHP House of Delegates, president of the Greater Kansas City Society of Hospital Pharmacists, president of the Kansas Society of Hospital Pharmacists and a former member of the editorial board of American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (AJHP), among others.

Since retiring, White has published a series in AJHP entitled “Success Skills” and co-edited the ASHP Pharmacy Leadership Field Guide “Cases and Advice for Everyday Situations” and “Letters to Young Pharmacists, Rising Pharmacy Stars: Advice on Creating and Advancing Your Career in a Challenging Profession.” Additionally, along with Toby Clark, White authored “Wisdom from the Pharmacy Leadership Trenches.” White was an ASHP Foundation Scholar in Residence on Pharmacy Leadership in 2004 and published the “Leadership Gap” article in AJHP in 2015. She has trained over 100 residents during her career – one of her proudest career accomplishments – and has developed and recorded 20 conversations with health-system pharmacy’s most influential leaders through the ASHP Foundation’s Leadership Program.

As a Fellow of ASHP, White is also the recipient of many awards and honors for her service to the profession, including ASHP’s Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award — the highest award in hospital and health-system pharmacy, the Clifton J. Latiolais Award from the Ohio State College of Pharmacy, the John W. Webb Lecture Award, the Kansas Hospital Pharmacist of the Year Award, Kansas Pharmacist of the Year Award, Harold N. Godwin Lecture Award, Lambda Kappa Sigma Vanguard Leadership Award, Jack L. Beal Postbaccalaureate Award, and ASHP Distinguished Leadership Award.

In retirement, White has had the opportunity to travel internationally twice a year for pleasure and continues to speak about pharmacy leadership at the local, state and national levels.