WSU pharmacist wins esteemed Bowl of Hygeia award

Robert (Bob) Scheidtmann, winner of the Bowl of Hygeia for California.

After a 50-year career in pharmacy that included decades of volunteer leadership in the local community, Washington State University alumnus Robert (Bob) Scheidtmann, class of 1966, will receive the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award for 2020 from the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA).

Established in 1958, the Bowl of Hygeia Award recognizes pharmacists who possess outstanding records of civic leadership and take active roles in their communities. The award is presented annually by state pharmacy associations and all honorees are recognized nationally through the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Scheidtmann, who was born and raised in San Francisco, attended UC Berkeley prior to Washington State University. After graduating from WSU’s College of Pharmacy in 1966 and receiving the Rexall Award for leadership, Scheidtmann began his career at Bowerman’s Pharmacy in the Bay Area.

A few years later, he was hired by St. Luke’s Hospital to run their outpatient pharmacy in the adjacent medical building, which cemented his commitment to community pharmacy. He eventually became the pharmacy director, and although he had never worked in a healthcare setting, he said, “managing people and understanding business priorities proved to be very valuable.” Subsequently, he was hired by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to run their medical building pharmacy and coordinate all pharmacy-related activities. As Director, he started the Clinical Pharmacist program, which now encompasses seven positions.

In addition to his career accomplishments, Scheidtmann said he is truly proud of his work in advocating for the pharmacy profession.

“I’ve always felt it was important to advance the practice of pharmacy, even when I knew that each advancement might have little to do with my own practice. It’s important to be involved and speak up and not remain on the sidelines of your profession.”

That involvement has many layers for him. He served as a Trustee of the CPhA for two terms and served as President of CALPhPAC, the Political Action Committee. He was an Adjunct Clinical Professor for extern rotations for both the University of the Pacific and UC San Francisco. He also served as a member of the 4th District Medical Quality Review committee for the Medical Board of California.

Scheidtmann was a charter member of the Pharmacists Society of San Francisco (PSSF), and served as president of that organization, as well as the San Mateo Pharmacists Association (SMCPhA). He was instrumental in creating and revising the bi-laws of all these organizations and was given the “Pharmacist of the Year” award from both PSSF and SMCPhA.

Scheidtmann said these previous awards were meaningful, but when he heard he’d been nominated for the Bowl of Hygeia, he was surprised and humbled.

“I was very touched that my pharmacy colleagues felt I was worthy of this award,” said Scheidtmann. “And when I found out I won? Well, my wife said it was the first time I was speechless in 51 years of marriage!”

Recipients of the Bowl of Hygeia award have demonstrated how pharmacists can elevate themselves and their profession in the eyes of the public through participation in community civic programs and/or participation in government activities at the local or state level.

He has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 51 years and they have a daughter, Tracy, and a son, Carl. After spending his entire life residing in the San Francisco Bay area, he recently relocated to Bend, Oregon, to be closer to family.

“The Bowl of Hygeia is one of pharmacy’s top awards and it’s a proud day when a WSU pharmacist receives it. On behalf of the college, we’d like to congratulate Bob on this remarkable achievement and welcome him and his family back to the Northwest,” said Linda Garrelts MacLean, interim dean of the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.