Taking office as President of American Pharmacy Association (APhA) in 1979, Mary Munson Runge said her goal was to increase membership among women, minority, and employee pharmacists. Runge knew a thing or two about all three—she was the first woman, the first #African American, and the first employee community pharmacist elected president of APhA—ending a 126-year trend of whites, men, and mostly pharmacy owners.
“The lion’s share of the responsibility is on the shoulders of … members and leaders of local and state associations to actively recruit and welcome these members,” Runge explained as she sought to increase the bonds between APhA and the state pharmacy associations.
Mary Munson Runge
Pharmacists remember Runge as having personally made them feel welcome in the Association and inspiring them to advance in their careers and leadership roles regardless of their gender, race, or age. Her efforts to establish a Task Force on Women in Pharmacy and later an Office of Women’s Affairs within APhA were instrumental in creating a favorable environment as feminization of the profession occurred swiftly.
Runge’s aim wasn’t simply to diversify APhA’s membership. As a leader and as a community pharmacist, Runge sought to empower the disenfranchised.