A North St. Louis native has made history as the first Black CEO and founder of a radically inclusive pharmacy.
Delmar Divide, a section of St. Louis City plagued with inequities and disparities for decades.The healthcare space was created to serve everyone, including disenfranchised residents of color, sexual orientation, and disabilities.
“We focus on those underrepresented communities who have historically not been able to get quality healthcare where they are,” Greater Health Pharmacy CEO, Dr. Marcus Howard, said.
“To see Black pharmacists, pharmacists who are gay, or pharmacists who are disabled and say, ‘Hey this person gets me and I can ask them questions and they’re honest with me.’ That’s pretty cool,” pharmacist Christine Augustine said.
The Black-owned pharmacy is located inside the old St. Luke’s Hospital which has now been renovated and renamed the Delmar Divine.
“I returned home so I can bring that idea of quality, culturally responsive healthcare to my hometown,” Dr. Howard said. “When you’re from St. Louis it means so much more.”
Dr. Howard received nearly 80 rejections for the inclusive pharmacy. However, his determination would eventually land him partnerships with the Missouri Foundation for Health, SSM Health, and Delmar Divine visionary Maxine Clark to make his dream come true.
SSM Health saw the need and as a result, built a multi-million-dollar urgent care and express clinic inside Greater Health Pharmacy.
“This is Black history in the making. This is Black history currently,” pharmacist, Dr. Kenneth Powell said. “That’s just an opportunity that you can’t pass up to generally help people that look like you.”
The pharmacy prides itself on breaking down barriers, specifically transportation roadblocks and provides free same-day prescription deliveries to customers in St. Louis County.
“To have an owner of a pharmacy come to where you live and say ‘I care about you, I want to help you,’ that’s not something people around here have heard before,” Augustine said.
“We’re asking the community to transfer your prescription from a major pharmacy over to Greater Health,” Dr. Howard said.
His roots in North St. Louis have been a motivating factor in bringing change to the city he calls home.
“Strong foundations built in the home very seldom will they crumble in the street,” his father, Mark Howard, said. “I don’t know if they have created a word yet that would describe what I am. Proud is not a big enough word.”
“If you don’t try to find your purpose or try to be creative and purposeful for your community. Then, what’s the point?” mom Judith Howard said.