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Biography of Herb Tsuchiya, 2008 Distinguished Alumnus in Pharmacy Practice

Dean Tom Baillie presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Herb Tsuchiya at the Dean’s Recognition Reception on May 6th, 2009.
Herb Tsuchiya gives his speech at the Dean’s Recognition Reception on May 6th. Photos by Team Photogenic

Herbert Minoru Tsuchiya graduated from the UW School of Pharmacy in 1955. After completing his degree, he worked as a Seattle area pharmacist for more than 50 years — almost 30 of which were spent as the owner, manager and preceptor at Genesee Street Pharmacy in southeast Seattle. Today, he still runs into former clients who recognize him from his time there.

His professional experience also includes working as a clinic pharmacist manager at Columbia Health Center Pharmacy and Rainier Park Medical Clinic. In these roles, he worked with underserved populations, including seniors, immigrants and low-income children. He helped plan and design the pharmacy at the new Columbia Pharmacy clinic site.

Tsuchiya’s professional honors are wide-ranging. He has received an A.H. Robins/Wyeth Bowl of Hygeia Award in recognition of outstanding community service among pharmacy professionals and a Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award for excellence in management, entrepreneurial spirit and customer service. He is a member of the National Community Pharmacists Association and Washington State Pharmacy Association and a former longstanding member of the American Pharmaceutical Association and Seattle-King County Pharmaceutical Society.

For more than 15 years, he volunteered as a consultant at the Rainier Vista Clinic Pharmacy doing drug-inventory management and helping to locate low-cost drugs. Such community service is a cornerstone of Tsuchiya’s life. In 1991, he co-founded the Seattle Walk for Rice, the annual fundraiser for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service food bank. He also co-founded the Kin On Health Care Center, the nation’s first nursing home operated by the Chinese community to serve non-English-speaking Asian people. His extensive volunteer work has garnered Tsuchiya the Organization of Chinese Americans Golden Circle Award and the Seattle Mayor’s End Hunger Award.

Tsuchiya’s wife, Bertha, herself a UW School of Pharmacy graduate who passed away in 2004, owned Luke’s Pharmacy in the Seattle’s International District for much of her life. The Tsuchiyas’ devotion to the international community led them to host many UW pharmacy exchange students throughout the years. Last year, to honor his wife, Tsuchiya created the Herbert and Bertha Tsuchiya Endowed Student Support Fund for Global Research. This fund seeks to provide sustained support for UW pharmacy students seeking exchange opportunities to broaden their pharmacy education.

The Tsuchiyas had five children — an attorney, a teacher, an auditor, and two optometrists — and twelve grandchildren. While such a large family keeps him busy, Herb Tsuchiya also stays acting in community theater productions. He has even appeared in small roles in a few motion pictures. Tsuchiya considers his greatest passion helping others to succeed using grace, encouragement and humor.

For his devotion to the practice of pharmacy and to better health care for underserved populations, for his extensive community outreach and for his efforts on behalf of global pharmacy, the University of Washington School of Pharmacy is honored to present the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Excellence in Pharmacy Practice to Herbert Minoru Tsuchiya.

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