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Are you a point guard of pharmacy healthcare? Mustafa Kurdi is.

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Originally from Jordan, Mustafa came to Mississauga, ON with his parents when he was 9-years-old. Now 27, and a 2014 graduate from the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy, he says his mom is his true inspiration as she has twice won the Manager of the Year award for Metro Pharmacy.

By Mustafa Kurdi

Currently I am doing a residency at Eli Lilly Canada. I choose to pursue this opportunity because during my education I was not exposed to the pharmaceutical industry and wanted to learn more about it.

It was important for me to choose this path to enhance my business acumen. I see myself working mostly in industry as well as community pharmacy. I would like to be a part of innovation and capitalizing on opportunities in new business ventures. Working in industry and community pharmacy allows for that flexibility.

I chose to pursue pharmacy because it’s both a diverse and rewarding profession. I believe it’s our responsibility to expand our scope of practice to increase the value we provide to patients and our healthcare community. Also, if I may use basketball jargon, pharmacists are the ‘point guards’ of healthcare, meaning that as a pharmacist you can direct, refer, and serve patients anytime. Doctors need referrals or visits to be accessible, however, as a pharmacist you have the freedom to be out there reaching out to patients directly without any barriers.

My goal in pharmacy will be to apply my skill-sets — drug therapy management, empathy, individualization, teamwork, research, and business acumen — in patient care to help create business solutions.

As a first step to my goal, I participated in a million-dollar social entrepreneurship competition (the 2014 Hult Prize in partnership with former US President Bill Clinton and The Clinton Foundation) to find chronic disease healthcare solutions in urban slums. We were in a team of five University of Waterloo students tasked to develop a method through compost collection to support the health needs of slum dwellers experiencing chronic diseases, by partnering with the Red Cross to create healthcare diagnostic services, follow-up, and regular checkups.

Today I am part of a team looking to create a BLU+ application (data management software) to consolidate patient data and make it easier for healthcare providers to comprehend and manage. This software will help healthcare teams be more fully aware of their patients’ progress and the care they have completed to date.

Being a pharmacist allows me to map out a patient’s journey, choose the critical points of medication management, and then try to make recommendations that help to make the patient’s life easier. I believe this will provide great value to patients. I am constantly looking at ways to make processes more efficient, whether it’s an application, operational procedure, employee training or other process. I believe such a skill is important in any work setting because better utilization of resources yields a healthier business.