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What I took away from the Canadian Pharmacists Association conference

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I returned for the Canadian Pharmacists Association/Alberta Pharmacists’ Association conference about two weeks ago and have had some time to reflect on what I felt about the conference.

 

By Mike Boivin BSc.Phm.

 

I am not an expert ‘conference goer’ and have not been to every CPhA conference since I graduated, but over the last few years I have attended many provincial and national pharmacy association, chain, banner and independent pharmacy conferences.

I felt the conference was very well done. There were a myriad of sessions on a variety of topics in a number of different conference streams. As a consultant, I was happy to see a business stream in the conference.  I found five to 10 years ago this would not be considered at any pharmacist association conference. There were sessions on every aspect of pharmacy practice, including topics on hot issues such as medical cannabis, assisted dying and e-prescribing. I was also thrilled to see the Public Health Agency of Canada funding an immunization stream and recognizing the role that pharmacists can play on improving the health of every Canadian.

One thing I really enjoyed at this conference was hearing some of the pharmacy research being done by individuals across the country. Although there are some amazing large-scale academic pharmacy research projects, I was most excited to hear the about the research projects happening at the grassroots levels. I fully believe that research and data will help to control our future, and can’t stress enough the value of these small independent studies being done by highly motivated community pharmacists (such as John Papastergiou and Bryan Gray) and their teams.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about the national conference was seeing pharmacists from across the country. It’s great to have the opportunity to connect with many colleagues I don’t see at other conferences. I would be standing in one area and talking to a colleague from the west coast when several colleagues from across the country would join in to share their perspectives. As with every pharmacy conference, I always meet a pharmacist who is doing incredible things in his or her practice. These are colleagues that most pharmacists in the country may not have heard of before but are the ones that I enjoy writing about.

Both the CPhA and the RxA should be commended for putting on a great conference. Hopefully, I will be able to see more colleagues who are sharing their stories in Quebec City in 2017.

Mike Boivin is a clinical pharmacist consultant, continuing education developer, and president of CommPharm Consulting Inc. He is also a frequent contributor to Pharmacy Business magazine and PharmacyU.ca