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When Kroger Health President Colleen Lindholz sits down for a meeting with her colleagues, all raise their right hands and recite the pharmacist’s oath: “I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.” For Lindholz, the oath means everything.

“The oath is what we dedicated our lives to as pharmacists,” says Lindholz, who leads 2,200 pharmacies across 220 clinics in 37 states for Kroger Health, one of the largest operations—if not the largest—of its kind in the nation.

It’s the holistic approach to patient care: Kroger isn’t just a place to have your prescription filled. For Lindholz, getting and staying healthy takes more than medication. “Our purpose,” she says, “is to feed the human spirit.”

In our ninth and final podcast episode in 2022, hear how Lindholz is making America healthier.

What does it mean to “feed the human spirit” at Kroger?

Lindholz rallies dieticians, pharmacists and nurse practitioners not only to fill prescriptions and administer vaccinations, but to prevent and manage disease with the first line of defense: the power of nutritious food.

But feeding the human spirit goes beyond even that.

“We sell groceries,” Lindholz explains. “But we believe that people are hungry for more than food.” They’re hungry for a smile, to feel valued, to be uplifted.

And as Lindholz relates, her one-year term as recent chair of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) didn’t quite satisfy her appetite to curb that hunger. At NACDS, Lindholz led initiatives on accessibility, affordability and care quality. Her only regret is that one year as chair wasn’t long enough: Just as she felt like she was making a difference as chair, her term was over.

Perhaps Lindholz understates her impact.

As a trained pharmacist, and now as leader of Kroger Health, Lindholz knows that pharmacists can take care of patients well beyond the pharmacy counter. They can administer vaccinations for influenza and COVID-19. They can work with dietitians and nurse practitioners to treat the whole patient, not just fill prescriptions. It’s why Lindholz wants to embed a nutrition score back into the patient’s electronic health record (EHR).

“The most important thing,” she says, “is being able to comprehensively understand the patient.”

Kroger Health President Colleen Lindholz believes that it’s a privilege to have the opportunity of changing the trajectory of chronic disease in the U.S. Hear all she has to say about taking good care of people on the ninth episode of our podcast.

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