-Education: 1986 graduate at the U of T school of Pharmacy
-Current role: consulting and VP Quality & Innovations at Pharmapod
What excites you about being a pharmacist?
That’s easy. Advocating for anything that improves patient safety and helps pharmacists be a part of that! I am excited about reducing medication errors both in day to day operations and when patients transition through different sectors of the healthcare system. Medication Reconciliation for patients transitioning in and out of hospital, long term care or retirement homes has been a passion of mine for the last ten years. I am excited about the expanding scope for pharmacists and excited about creating what it takes (like digital tools) to facilitate workflow efficiencies to allow them to do the work and document the work quickly.
How would you describe a great day at work?
For me, a great day at work is having success at moving the needle for pharmacists to be recognized by the government and the public as having a positive impact on the Quadruple Aim. Every day pharmacists are making decisions that positively impact the health of the population and usually this is only recognized locally by one patient or one healthcare provider at a time. Often the work done by pharmacists, whether catching a potential problem on a prescription or identifying and preventing a drug related issue with a patient, prevents costly unnecessary hospital visits due to adverse drug events. Improving population health and reducing costs deserves to be recognized. When I work with patients or pharmacists or pharmacy students to positively impact the health of the population….that is a great day at work.
How important was mentoring in your career?
Mentoring others is very important to me now as I was very fortunate to have a number of great mentors in my career along the way. It was not always a formal mentor relationship but one of respect for my elders, admiration for those more experienced, and a constant state of curiosity and being thirsty for information. You may not even realize someone is having a mentoring impact on you until much later. Whether you have a formal mentor now or not, you are surrounded by people teaching you lessons everyday. The trick is to be mindful and aware of the messages coming your way. Sometimes the messages feel good and sometimes they hurt but they are all teaching you and helping you to grow all the same. If you have the opportunity to reach out to a trusted advisor, take the opportunity as this is how doors are opened for you. They were for me.
As a leader in pharmacy, what continues to drive you?
The need to do the right thing continues to drive me. It is so difficult to accept the identified problems, challenges or barriers to the pharmacy profession without also saying ” so what will it take…what do we need to do now ?” I need to find something, even if it is a small change, to drive forward. I don’t accept that this is as good as it gets….it can always improve. It can always be better so let’s get started on that now.
Women are making a big name for themselves in pharmacy. What does this mean to you professionally and personally?
I am so mesmerized by the women leaders I see in pharmacy today. Professionally it makes me very proud to be a pharmacist and personally it inspires me to continue to be better myself.
What do you think needs to happen to have more women in executive roles across various sectors in the profession?
I think women currently in executive roles can hugely influence the number of women in future executive roles by opening doors for them, mentoring and encouraging them.
How are women paving the way for changes in the pharmacy profession?
Women are paving the way by acting on their ideas, by not being silent about doing the right thing and not accepting the status quo.
What advice would you give to new female pharmacy graduates?
You can do anything you put your mind to. When asked to step up, always say “Yes” and worry about how to do it later. Make sure you are at the table and lean in when you are. You have a voice, you have an opinion, you have important things to say…..make sure people hear it.