Leadership is very much a part of Iowa's healthcare history. Dating back to the early days of pharmacy education, the University of Iowa cultivated pioneers. One of those remarkable leaders was Zada Mary Cooper (1875–1961), who graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 1897, and continued as a faculty member until retiring in 1942. She was one of the founders of the Women’s Section of the American Pharmacists Association, founder of Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and the Rho Chi Society, and secretary of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy from 1922 to 1942. She was an advocate of women in pharmacy, and later became known as the “grand and glorious lady of pharmacy.”

The Zada Cooper Leadership Legacy Initiative seeks to honor Zada Mary Cooper and her pioneering ideas to bring people together. Be trailblazing, be collaborative, be innovative, be bold, and be involved!

An in-person symposium, or virtual seminar is often featured, and influential leaders share their experiences and expertise on leadership to include varying pathways and overcoming challenges. The symposium offers attendees opportunities to make career-enhancing connections and build their networks.

Zada Cooper Leadership Seminar held May 4, 2021

Featured presentations included;

Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, FAPhA, CDCES, President, American Pharmacists Association, Executive Vice President, Tabula Rasa HealthCare, 
"Advocating for Equity: It All Begins with You."  Leal shared her path to leadership and discuss gender equity and the importance of support for underserved communities/access to healthcare. 

Helen Eddy, '82 BSPh, MBA, Director, Polk County Health Department, "Lessons Learned: COVID-19."  Eddy shared her leadership journey and COVID-19 lessons learned during the pandemic, including health equity and social determinants and vulnerabilities.

The Zada Cooper Legacy of Leadership strives to:

  • Inspire others to engage and model inclusive leadership;
  • Encourage all healthcare providers to become involved in their profession and community;
  • Increase awareness of current and emerging leadership challenges;
  • Facilitate and promote connections – students, residents, and practitioners to engage in informal conversation with leaders;
  • Inspire participants to reach out to become compassionate and inclusive leaders; “Big L,” or “Little L;”
  • Introduce varying leadership pathways and thoughts on leadership;
  • Collaborate and build diverse networks.