The 21st Show

Best of: Small-Town Pharmacist Shortage


Alwood Pharmacy Facebook page

A survey conducted by The National Community Pharmacists Association found more than 70% of pharmacies were experiencing staff shortages. For rural communities, where pharmacists are the only outpost of health care in the town, these shortages can lead to clinics closing up, leaving towns with no pharmacy within reach, known as pharmacy deserts.

We heard about how a college program in Rockford is training pharmacy students to be equipped to work in rural towns, and we spoke with a local pharmacist-owner who serves her community of 700 people as their go-to healthcare expert.


Fred Ullrich
Program Director for Research in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa // Co-author of research on pharmacy deserts and rural pharmacies with the Rural Policy Research Institute

Dr. Heidi Olson
Director of Rural Pharmacy Education Program at University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy in Rockford

Donna Merideth
Pharmacist and owner of Alwood Pharmacy in Alpha

A version of this conversation originally aired on August 28, 2023.