Alumni Profile: Henri Manasse

Henri Manasse: The Grandfather of the Pharmacy Graduate Program

Henri Manasse

When Henri Manasse came to the College of Pharmacy in 1972 to earn his Ph.D., the concept of applying sociology and psychology to the study of pharmacy was still in its infancy. In fact, he was the very first Ph.D. graduate – in 1974 – of the college’s Social and Administrative Pharmacy Graduate program.

"I was looking for a nontraditional program in the applied behavioral sciences and pharmacy, and I wanted a place that was innovative", Manasse says. He found it at the University of Minnesota, and today, Manasse jokingly refers to himself as the “grandfather of the program.”

“I was looking for a nontraditional program in the applied behavioral sciences and pharmacy, and I wanted a place that was innovative”

Since then – as Manasse moved from teaching and administrative roles in academia to serving as executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) -- the Social and Administrative Pharmacy Graduate program has grown “immensely,” Manasse says, along with the field it helped shape. He’s proud to have played a part in the integration of the behavioral sciences into pharmacy education and practice.

Manasse’s bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, from the University of Illinois, was narrowly and “intensely” focused on basic science, he says. He went on to earn a master’s degree in educational psychology from Loyola University of Chicago, and came to strongly believe that what he learned in that program – along with his love of and exposure to the humanities – could make him a better pharmacist.

“I felt there was a lot of opportunity for application of sociology and psychology in pharmacy,” he says. Manasse is grateful he was able to combine those interests at the University of Minnesota – and throughout his career. “Addiction, adherence, the response to meds are behavioral issues – all of these have great relevance in pharmacy.”

“I've always been a person who's interested in change, in not accepting the status quo.”

Manasse’s time at the U was during Larry Weaver’s tenure as dean of the college, and Manasse credits the forward-thinking Weaver with helping lure him to Minnesota.

“He was really putting the program on the map, nationally and internationally,” Manasse says, and constantly pushing for the field to evolve. “He invited a lot of foreign students to come and study at the University, and he visited lots of schools in other countries as a consultant.”

The freedom, intellectual resources, and opportunities Manasse had at the College of Pharmacy and throughout the University helped open many professional doors for him, he says. He returned to the University of Illinois with a vision for elevating and expanding the role of the pharmacist.

“I was in an area that was kind of brand new, and there was a lot of interest in my work. I was invited to give seminars and write chapters in books,” Manasse recalls. “Today there are several journals that publish in these areas [of the behavioral sciences and pharmacy], and pharmacy education typically includes coursework in sociology and psychology.”

After nearly three decades in academia, Manasse turned his focus to improving the practice of pharmacy in hospitals and health systems through leadership roles in the ASHP. He retired in 2012, but has served on numerous professional boards and receives continuous speaking and teaching invitations.

“I like to think I've played a small role in helping advance pharmacy education and the profession as a whole,” Manasse says. “I've always been a person who's interested in change, in not accepting the status quo.”