History of the Pediatric Pharmacy Association
updated April 2021

Special thanks to Robert Poole, PharmD, a PPA Founder, for his contibutions to this written history of PPA. [Original article featured in JPPT]

The year 2019 marked the 40th year anniversary of the Pediatric Pharmacy Association. Like nearly all worthy causes, the idea for the Pediatric Pharmacy Association (PPA) started with a conversation among a small group of friends and colleagues.  

The Early Years

In 1979 Dr. Doug Smith, Dr. Robert Poole, and Mr. Steve Allen began discussing the need for an organization aimed at helping pediatric pharmacy directors to better serve their unique patient populations. These trailblazers met informally and then formally at the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacist’s Midyear Clinical Meeting. Over the next six years, the group expanded and included Pharmacy Directors from across the United States.

At these meetings a core group of leaders emerged. Mr. Doug Smith (Chicago, IL) served as President and Chairman of the Board from 1985-1995. Other members of this charter group include: Mr. Stephen Allen (Washington, DC), Mr. Joe Sceppa (Boston, MA), Mr. Henry Wedemeyer (Denver, CO), Dr. Gary Greiner (Columbus, OH), Mr. Dave Grinder (St. Petersburg, FL), Dr. Chris Lomax (Los Angeles, CA), Dr. Robert Warren (Fresno, CA), Ms. Darlene Anderson (Dallas TX), and Dr. Robert Poole (Stanford, CA). As the network of directors grew so did the need for a more structured organization.

By 1985, their vision had taken form and the Pharmacy Directors of Pediatric Hospitals (PDPH) organization was born. PDPH held the first Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA during the ASHP Midyear Meeting. Annual Board of Director retreats in the Colorado mountains shaped the future direction of the organization. In 1987 interest in the group expanded to include Associate Directors, Clinical Directors, and Managers in the pediatric pharmacy setting. This prompted the group to change its name to the Pediatric Pharmacy Administrative Group (PPAG). 

The 1990’s: Momentum 

By the early 1990’s PPAG continued to grow and membership expanded to include pediatric clinical pharmacists and specialists as well as pharmacists academicians. Struggling to find a voice in the larger pharmacy community, PPAG was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization.


PPAG receives a $200,000 grant from the Kappour Charitable Foundation to establish The Kappour Center for Pediatric Drug Information at the Children’s Hospital in Denver with the help of then Director of Pharmacy Henry “Hank” Wedemeyer. The Center develops the Pediatric Adverse Drug Event and Reaction Reporting (PADR) Program. The PADR program is one of the first national ADR and ADE reporting programs in the US, and in 1995 receives a $300,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Center for the Future of Children. The PADR Program expands to 25 reporting and participating Hospitals by 1998. The findings of this study are published in the Journal of Pediatric Pharmacy Practice in 1999 and presented at the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists meeting in Madrid, Spain in 2000.


Kellie McQueen becomes the first Executive Director of PPAG. PPAG holds its 1st Annual Meeting in Copper Mountain, Colorado. At this Annual Meeting, the Board changes our name to the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group to reflect the diverse membership of the organization. 


The Board of Directors establishes the first Mission, Vision, and Values of PPAG. 


The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacy Practice becomes the official journal of PPAG. The founding editor is David Grinder. The Journal is a forum for practitioners in pediatrics to publish works such as original research, case reports, and drug therapy reviews.


Kellie McQueen resignes as Executive Director and day-to-day management is outsourced to an Association Management Company.

On October 27, 1997, PPAG presents the need for regulation requiring manufacturers to assess the safety and effectiveness of new drugs and biological products in pediatric patients. Mr. Dave Grinder represents PPAG at the FDA public hearings on the issue.

PPAG partners with Publications International to publish Guidelines for Children’s Prescription Drugs. This publication provids accurate information for families related to medication use. Later that year, PPAG leads the movement to avoid the use of drug name abbreviations (eight years before the Joint Commission).


PPAG severs ties with its management group and names Henry “Hank” Wedemeyer as Executive Director. As Executive Director Hank continues to grow the organization and organizes our Annual Meetings in Kiawah Island, SC, Vancouver, BC Canada, San Antonio, TX, St. Louis, MO, and St. Petersburg, FL.

PPAG launches its first website and PediNet, an electronic bulletin board dedicated to improving communication among the pediatric pharmacy community.

PPAG has 350 active members heading into its third decade.


PPAG becomes an approved provider of Continuing Pharmacy Education by the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education

The 21st Century: Rapid Growth


The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacy Practice becomes The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The Board names Stephanie Phelps, PharmD Editor-in-Chief. The Journal becomes a peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary journal that is devoted to promoting the safe and effective use of medications in infants and children. To this end, the journal publishes practical information for all practitioners who provide care to pediatric patients. Each issue includes review articles, original clinical investigations, case reports, editorials, and other information relevant to pediatric medication therapy.

Soon after its launch, the Journal publishes a groundbreaking article, “Guidelines for Preventing Medication Errors in Pediatrics.” The Guidelines are co-developed with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), and endorsed by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.


Hank Wedemeyer retires as Executive Director

PPAG offers the first Specialty Conference for Neonatology.

Sumner J. Yaffe Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics is established. The Yaffe Award is given annually in recognition of significant and sustained contributions toward the improvement of children's health through the expansion of the field of pediatric pharmacology and therapeutics.


Matthew Helms becames the fourth Executive Director of PPAG and moves the organization’s headquarters from Denver, Colorado to Memphis, Tennessee.

PPAG recognizes Lifetime Honorary Members; Doug Smith, Steve Allen, Dave Grinder, Joe Sceppa, Gary Greiner, Hank Wedemeyer, and Bob Poole.  


The Association launches a new website, and begins to offer a quarterly newsletter for membership. The official newsletter of PPAG becomes the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocate in 2007.


The Richard A. Helms Excellence in Pediatric Pharmacy Practice Award is established. The Helms Award recognizes (1) sustained and meritorious contributions to PPAG and to pediatric pharmacy practice, and (2) contributions of importance to education, new knowledge, and outreach. 

The Bruce Parks Memorial Residency Project Showcase is established in 2006. The showcase seeks to stimulate interest in the field of pediatric pharmacy by offering a highly competitive award for the best pediatric pharmacy resident presentation at the PPAG Spring Specialty Meeting each year. Approximately ninety (90) residents participate in this program each year.

PPAG offers its first online continuing pharmacy education program in 2006.

The Presidential Citation recognizing an outstanding Committee Chairperson is established.

PPAG reaches 500 members.


In February, PPAG Board of Directors officially endorses the "Shanghai Declaration," which outlines the organization's commitment to improving safe and reliable medicines for children worldwide." This endorsement also establishes PPAG as a member of the International Alliance for Better Medicine.


The Fellowship in the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (FPPAG) Program is established. The program serves the following purposes: to recognize excellence in pediatric pharmacy practice; and to grant recognition and to promote public awareness of pharmacists who have distinguished themselves in pediatric pharmacy practice.

Local Communities and Networks (LCN) Recognition Program is established. Through networking events, local programming, regional news and volunteer opportunities, the Local Networks build a community of peers, advance career and volunteer opportunities within the pediatric pharmacy community. 

The Board formally approves the establishment of the first permanent reserve fund.

PPAG launches a comprehensive Age-based Competency for Pediatrics Program online.

KidsMeds, a website dedicated to accurate pediatric drug information to parents and families, is launched.

The Spirit of PPAG Award is established recognizing "behind the scenes" contributors to the Association.

PPAG keeps its commitment to improving safe and reliable medicines for children worldwide by planning the First International Pediatric Pharmacy and Pharmacology Summit in association with the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP). This exciting event is the first time that international pediatric pharmacy and clinical pharmacology organizations involved in the use of medicines in children come together to share research, practice, and ideas to improve the care of children. 

PPAG reaches 650 members.


PPAG establishes the Neonatal Pharmacy Resident Research Small Grant Program.  


PPAG announces new logo.

PPAG begins recognizing PPAG Student Groups dedicated to pediatric pharmacy within Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy. These student groups provide educational, networking, and community service opportunities. 


PPAG  introduces a new format for our Annual Conferences. Our Conference provides focused specialty blocks with review and advanced educational offerings. Also, PPAG begins offering live webinars on a regular basis. 

PPAG reaches 750 members.


Pediatric pharmacy is recognized by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). PPAG successfully partner with ACCP, APhA, and ASHP to develop the petition recognized pediatric pharmacy as a specialty.

PPAG reaches 950 members.


PPAG establishes a Research Mentoring Program for young practitioners.

PPAG successfully advocates for a pediatric pharmacy voice on the FDA Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee. Kathy Pham, PharmD, is appointed to the post

PPAG grows to 1,000+ members.


PPAG launches a new and improved website to respond to a growing membership, technological advances, and the communication needs of our members. 

PPAG announces updated logo highlighting our status as a professional association.

PPAG offers its first BCPPS Exam Preparation and Review Course in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Pediatric PharmPrep Advanced Guide. Over 530 pharmacists attend. 

PPAG is awarded the Professional Development Program (PDP) provider contract by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.

PPAG begins to offer two (2) conference per year; our Annual Meeting and the Fall Pediatric Pharmacy Conference.  

PPAG publishes the Advanced Pediatric Therapeutics textbook. 

PPAG joins the The Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC) 

​PPAG enters into a affiliation agreement with the American College of Clinical Pharmacology


​PPAG launches PPAG University (PPAG-U), a one-stop shop for pediatric pharmacy education and professional development. BCPPS Recertification Units during the Annual Meeting and Fall Conference.

​The PPAG Student Council is establish, and conducts its first national election for officers.

​PPAG reaches 1,300+ members


​PPAG and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) enter into two collaborative agreements. PPAG has a permanent liaison position in the AAP Section for Advanced in Therapeutics and Technology (SOATT) and the Section for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (SOCPT)

​The Garrett A. Helms Memorial Lectureship is established as a permanent fixture at PPAG Annual Meeting. The inaugural lectureship is given at the Annual Meeting.

PPAG Conversations, the official Podcast of PPAG featuring experts in the field of pediatric pharmacy, is produced and launched.


PPAG successfully advocates for a pharmacists membership category in the American Academy of Pediatrics

PPAG publishes four (4) new position statements

PPAG exceeds 1,500 members.


PPAG announced it is doing business as the Pediatric Pharmacy Association.





PPA publishes Key Potentially Inappropriate Drugs in Pediatrics: The KIDs List in the Journal Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2020;25(3):175–191. The safe use of medications in pediatric patients requires practitioners to consider the unique pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs prescribed in this age group. In an effort to create a standard of care for the safe use of medications in this population, a list of drugs that are potentially inappropriate for use in pediatric patients has been developed and titled the “KIDs List.”

PPA hosts two fully virtual conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both conferences exceed attendance expectations.

The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics publishes eight (8) issues per year (increasing from six per year).

PPA reaches 1,600 members.


PPA establishes the Pediatric Pharmacy Resident Small Grant Program.

PPA reaches 1,700 members.


From that first conversation among friends PPA has grown in size and scope to truly become the primary resource for pediatric medication therapy in children. PPA continues to develop educational programs for practitioners and families that will continue to be influential. 

Tables of Interest

Presidents/Chairman of the Board
PPAG recognizes the service of those that have served on the Board of Directors. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their voluntary service to PPAG.

1985-1995 Doug Smith
1995-1998 Dave Ginder
1998-1999 Steve Allen
1999-2000 Merrell Magelli
2000-2001 Christy Scott
2001-2002 Anne Lesko, PharmD, FPPA
2002-2003 Sherry Luedtke, PharmD, FPPA
2003-2004 David Gregory, PharmD
2004-2005 Robert Kuhn, PharmD, FPPA
2005-2006 Robert Kuhn, PharmD, FPPA
2006-2007 James Dice, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA
2007-2008 Cindy Dusik, PharmD
2008-2009 Jeffrey Low, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA
2009-2010 Michael Christensen, PharmD, FPPA
2010-2011 Michael Christensen, PharmD, FPPA
2011-2012 David Knoppert, FPPA
2012-2013 Amy Potts, PharmD, BCPPS
2013-2014 William Maish, PharmD, FPPA
2014-2015 Kay Kyllonen, PharmD, FPPA
2015-2016 Jared Cash, PharmD, FPPA
2016-2017 Lisa Lubsch, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA the best
2017-2018 David Hoff, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA
2018-2019 Miranda Nelson, PharmD, BCPPS
2019-2020 Hanna Phan, PharmD, FCCP, FPPA
2020-2021 Shannon Manzi, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA
2021-2022 Kristin Klein, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA
2022-2023 Michael Chicella, PharmD, BCPPS, FPPA

Executive Directors

1992-1997 Kellie McQueen
1997 Steve Glass Association Mgmt Co.
1998-2002 Hank Wedemeyer
2003-present Matthew Helms, MA, CAE


Honorary Members

2003 Induction

Doug Smith
Steven Allen
Dave Grinder
Joe Sceppa
Gary Greiner
Hank Wedemeyer
Bob Poole

Meetings and Conference History
Pharmacy Directors of Pediatric Hospitals (PDPH)
​held in conjunction with the ASHP Midyear Meeting
1985 New Orleans, LA
1986 Las Vegas, NV


Changed name to Pediatric Pharmacy Administrative Group

1987 Atlanta, GA
1988 Nashville, TN
1989 Atlanta, GA
1990 Las Vegas, NV
1991 New Orleans, LA
  Changed name to Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group
1992 1st Annual Meeting Copper Mountain, CO
1993 2nd Annual Meeting Vail, CO
1994 3rd Annual Meeting Napa, CA
1995 4th Annual Meeting Newport, RI
1996 5th Annual Meeting Scottsdale, AZ
1997 6th Annual Meeting Beaver Creek, CO
1998 7th Annual Meeting Kiawah Island, SC
1999 8th Annual Meeting Vancouver, BC
2000 9th Annual Meeting San Antonio, TX
2001 10th Annual Meeting St. Louis, MO
  NICU Specialty Conference  
2002 11th Annual Meeting St. Petersburg, FL
  PICU Specialty Conference Dallas, TX
2003 12th Annual Meeting Dana Point, CA
  NICU Specialty Conference Tucson, AZ
2004 13th Annual Meeting St. Petersburg, FL
2005 14th Annual Meeting Chicago, IL
  Hematology/Oncology Specialty Conference Memphis, TN
2006 15th Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA
  PICU/NICU Specialty Conference Baltimore, MD
2007 16th Annual Meeting Portsmouth, VA
  Technology/Safety Specialty Conference Austin, TX
2008 17th Annual Meeting Baltimore, MD
  PICU/NICU Specialty Conference Little Rock, AR
2009 18th Annual Meeting Cleveland, OH
  International Conference (held in conjuction with ACCP) Orlando, FL
2010 19th Annual Meeting St. Charles, MO
  Chronic Diseases Specialty Conference Salt Lake City, UT
2011 20th Annual Meeting
Focus: Hematology/Oncology and Critical Care
Memphis, TN
2012 21st Annual Meeting
Focus: Infectious Diseases and Clinical Leadership/Management
Houston, TX
2013 22nd Annual Meeting
Focus: NICU and PICU
Indianapolis, IN
2014 23rd Annual Meeting
Focus: Hematology/Oncology and General Pediatrics
Nashville, TN
2015 24th Annual Meeting
Focus: Board Examination Review
Minneapolis, MN
  Fall Meeting: Board Exam Review Houston, TX
2016 25th Annual Meeting
Focus: NICU and Nutrition/GI
Atlanta, GA
  Fall Conference
​Focus: General Peds, Hematology/Oncology, BCPPS Review
Tucson, AZ
2017 26th Annual Meeting
​Focus: Medication Safety and PICU
Charlotte, NC
  Fall Conference
​Focus: Infectious Disease, Ambulatory Care, BCPPS Review
Cincinatti, OH
2018 27th Annual Meeting
​Focus: General Pediatrics and NICU
Salt Lake City, UT
  Fall Conference
Focus: Hematology/Oncology, Nutrition/GI, BCPPS Review
​Philadelphia, PA
​2019 28th Annual Meeting
Focus: Ambulatory Care and PICU
​Oklahoma City, OK
  Fall Conference
Focus: Infectious Disease, Preceptor Development, and BCPPS Prep
Lexington, KY
  Changed name to Pediatric Pharmacy Association  
2020 29th Annual Meeting
Focus: Hematology and NICU
  Fall Conference
Focus: GI/ Nutrition and General Peds, BCPPS Review
2021 30th Annual Meeting
Focus: Infectious Disease and PICU
  Fall Conference
Focus: Ambulatory Care, Preceptor Development, and BCPPS Review 
Columbus, OH
2022 31st Annual Meeting
Focus: GI/Nutrition and NICU
Norfolk, VA
  Fall Conference
Focus: Hematology/Oncology, General Pediatrics, and BCPPS Review