Foundation boosts scholarships to mark retirement of Carlos Ortiz ’66, emeritus member of WSU Applebaum Board of Visitors

Presentation of award
Community Pharmacy Foundation Board President Phil Burgess (right) recognizes Carlos Ortiz’s contributions during his nineteen years of service. 

The Community Pharmacy Foundation honored the retirement of Carlos Ortiz from its board of directors in November 2019. Ortiz is a 1966 Wayne State University pharmacy alumnus and an emeritus member of the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Board of Visitors.

Ortiz served the WSU Applebaum board for 13 years, during which time he was a reliable, active participant, traveling thousands of miles each year to attend meetings in person. Always passionate about supporting student involvement and advancement in the profession of pharmacy, he helped facilitate the opening of the CVS Professional Practice Lab, and he was instrumental in establishing the Board of Visitors Annual Scholarship to provide tuition assistance to deserving students who show great promise for making a difference in their profession.

In recognition of Ortiz’s retirement, the Community Pharmacy Foundation made donations to both the Board of Visitors Endowed Scholarship and Pharmacy Program Scholarships.

Carlos Ortiz in 1966
Carlos Ortiz’s portrait in the 1966 Wayne Pharmic yearbook

Ortiz spent the first decade of his career with Cunningham Drugs in Michigan, then began working for CVS in 1976 and retired in 2008 as its vice president of government affairs. He was awarded the Harold W. Pratt Award from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores in 1998, recognizing his contribution to chain pharmacy. In 2000, he was honored by the New Jersey Council of Chain Drugstores as Pharmacist of the Year.

Ortiz was a founding board member of the Community Pharmacy Foundation. The foundation originated in 2000 after a small group of independent pharmacists led by Bob Gude organized the Pharmacy Freedom Fund. This group subsequently filed a class-action lawsuit against several major pharmaceutical manufacturers for discriminatory pricing that challenged the future of community pharmacy. The settlement of this lawsuit included $18.6 million for the establishment of a Community Pharmacy Foundation to advance the profession.

Today, the Community Pharmacy Foundation has over $24 million to support innovative community pharmacy advancements and has invested more than $9 million in the profession. In 2019, the organization took a monumental step to support its desire to advance the next big idea in pharmacy by investing $3.3 million in the Flip the Pharmacy program. The multi-year program aims to move beyond filling prescriptions at a moment in time to caring for patients over time through community pharmacy practice transformation.

Ortiz and his wife, Jan, have been married for over 50 years and he remains active in his retirement through volunteering with a local English as a second language youth program.

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