New NACDS chair highlights group’s unifying power

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"We're all in this together," Lindholz said.

During the Tuesday Business Program at the 2021 NACDS Annual Meeting, Colleen Lindholz, president, Kroger Health, The Kroger Co., gave her first remarks as NACDS Chair and received the NACDS Chair’s gavel from Rick Keyes, president and CEO, Meijer, Inc.

ARLINGTON, Va. —  Newly elected National Association of Chain Drug Stores chair Colleen Lindholz on Tuesday addressed the group’s chain and associate members with a clear and consistent message: “We’re all in this together.”

Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, delivered her remarks at the NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program, and accepted the chair’s gavel from Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer Inc.

In describing chain pharmacy’s swift and heroic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindholz focused on the ways in which pharmacists, pharmacy teams and supplier team members united together as a collective industry through NACDS _ in a way unlike ever before _ to serve the nation:

“When you think about the force that is our NACDS membership group, there is a unique power when we share our story together. It is when we are united that we can make the statement: ‘There is a pharmacy located within five miles of 90% of Americans.’ When we work together, that story is true and that story is told. There are things we can do together that we can’t do separately.

“Throughout this crisis, the government has demanded it. They have wanted to know what our industry can do to provide frictionless, collaborative solutions to help solve the pandemic. They have seen the power of pharmacy.

“… Those who know me know I’ve always said that it would be our nation’s pharmacists who would step up to serve our country’s healthcare needs when we’ve needed it most. And together, you’ve all leaped forward with passion, grace and resolve.”

Lindholz also detailed the ways in which pharmacists and pharmacy teams have been “empowered to do even more during the pandemic: more testing, more vaccinations, more strategies to help patients stay on their medications,” and emphasized the ways in which retailers and suppliers have remained committed with a “total-store approach” to serving customers, communities and staff teams alike. These topics were discussed during Monday’s Annual Meeting Business Program.

Looking to the future, she also underscored the need to sustain the unique “connectedness” that formed between customers and NACDS members as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and to communicate the industry’s successes in maintaining the health and wellness needs of Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so that pharmacies can help “people live healthier lives” long after COVID-19 has been defeated. She emphasized the need for government to take action on issues that will help enhance patients’ access to vital services provided by NACDS members, and that will foster the viability of pharmacies.

Lindholz expounded on pharmacies’ value and experience in collaborative approaches to healthcare delivery and access, describing the pharmacist-physician collaboration that has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the “success of collaborative models involving doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and others in addressing issues like diabetes, substance abuse, preventative care and more.”

Closing with the same unified message in which she began her remarks, Lindholz said:

“I welcome this opportunity to serve as a passionate ambassador for your company and my company, for the strength of chains and suppliers united in this association and for the untapped potential for the American people that exists in a true partnership among all of us.

“… I am inspired by the opportunity we have to continue that momentum, and I am humbled to serve in this role alongside of you.”

Tuesday’s Business Program also included remarks by Jon Meacham, presidential historian and author.

Michael Sneed, executive vice president, global corporate affairs and chief communication officer at Johnson & Johnson, also spoke, and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. supported the Business Program. Similarly, Lisa Paley, general manager of U.S. and Puerto Rico for GSK Consumer Healthcare spoke during the program, which was supported by GSK Consumer Healthcare.


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