Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, discusses how she will be celebrating the important contributions of women pharmacists.
In preparation for Women Pharmacist Day 2022, Pharmacy Times spoke with Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, to discuss the history of the day and how she plans to celebrate it this year. Women Pharmacist Day is observed every year on October 12 and celebrates the trailblazers who paved the way for women in pharmacy.
Each year, 4 women pharmacists are chosen as Woman Pharmacist of the Year in 4 categories: community pharmacy, health system pharmacy, independent pharmacy, and nontraditional pharmacy. The winners are announced live during a program hosted in the Pharmacist Moms Facebook Group, and participants in the event can also win giveaway items. Join on October 12 at 1:30 pm ET in the exclusive Pharmacist Moms Group on Facebook to find out this year's winners.
Q: What does this day mean to you?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: So, Women Pharmacist Day is especially important to me. When I was working years ago as a faculty member, I noticed how many old pictures of graduates I saw down the hallway of where my office was as a faculty member. And each year, the number of females in the class would just increase. I had seen all the way back into like the 1920s, where there was only like 1 or 2 females, and then as they progressed and you got to see, you know, over 100 different class pictures, how many more women were just entering the profession. And I couldn't help but think what some of those early females were thinking and how they felt in pharmacy school. And it felt that at the time, there really wasn't a day recognizing these women in pharmacy and what they went through and what they've accomplished to help us get there so that, you know, when I graduated, half of my class was female.
Q: The choice of October 12th has an interesting history behind it. Can you discuss why October 12 is Women Pharmacist Day?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: Yeah, so basically, when I was thinking about what day would be important, we looked at October. And I thought of October as, you know, it was the big American Pharmacist Month. So, we all know it's that month, and then the 12th was actually in celebration of Elizabeth Gooking Greenleaf, and she is recognized as the first female pharmacist in the United States. And she had 12 kids, which is a lot more than most of us have. So, if she could do it, the I felt like anyone could do it. So that's where the 12 comes from.
Q: What is the history of Women Pharmacist Day?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: So, the first year, it was really just about recognizing women and acknowledging each other and just kind of coming together. And each year, we kind of have a different theme, and talking about what's going on and what's happening, current events within women and pharmacy. We now have the awards where we specifically recognize women in pharmacy and different areas of pharmacy practice, as well.
Q: How are you celebrating this year?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: Definitely. So first, I'm celebrating by watching our watch party that we're going to have that goes live that announces all of our winners and thanking everyone who's participating. I’ll have my T-shirt on and celebrating by going out and taking selfie pictures. I just did a campaign with some other fellow pharmacists as well for social media, as well just to really recognize what women again have gone through where we are in the profession and how to continue to advance the profession.
Q: The Women Pharmacist of the Year Award is also an exciting part of the celebration. Can you discuss this award?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: Well, if you're ever interested in being nominated for the award, you would visit www.womenpharmacistday.com. So, there are 4 categories and depending upon where you work, you could apply to that specific category. But check it out. And you could either become a finalist, or you could become next year's winner. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
Q: How have women pharmacists made a difference in the pharmacy field, and why is their perspective so essential?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: So, women, traditionally, I'm just going to go back to the community pharmacy. There are different things that we face and struggles that we face versus our male colleagues. And I would start with just pregnancy because that's kind of where we've focused a little bit of our efforts. Being 9 months pregnant in a pharmacy trying to bend down to reach something really low or grab something really high and you have this belly. So, just different things that we're facing during pregnancy or maybe pumping at work that we need to talk about more and address more, just bring more recognition and recognition to women working right now.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of pharmacy and women’s roles within it?
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS: I am very excited for the future of pharmacy and everything that it entails. I think that as the years go on, at least from the time I started practicing pharmacy until right now, I really have seen how much momentum we've gained as health care providers and post-COVID. Even all the recognition that pharmacists have received as health care providers. I'm very excited that that momentum will stick around and continue for the future. And I'm also very excited for all the women in pharmacy to continue to celebrate this wonderful day and celebrate, again, all of the trailblazers who have taken us from years ago to where we are today.