Winners 2012

Newfoundland | Nova Scotia | Prince Edward island | New Brunswick | Quebec | Ontario | Manitoba | Saskatchewan | Alberta | British Columbia

Barbara Thomas
Newfoundland Winner!
PhD, Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL

Barbara Thomas has been a hospital pharmacist since 1987 and a clinical pharmacist practising in a direct patient care role in psychiatry since 1994. In 2006 she decided to go back to school to further her education, and she enrolled in the Doctorate of Pharmacy Program at the University of Colorado. She completed the program in May 2010, and just a few months later she was offered a position as Clinical Assistant Professor with the School of Pharmacy at Memorial. In this capacity she teaches substance dependence and treatment as well as mentors and supervises students during rotations in psychiatry. Last summer, she was approached to develop and teach a psychopharmacology course with the new Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Program at Memorial, and in the fall of last year she accepted a position as Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychology.

"While I have enjoyed taking on these new challenges at this point in my career, ultimately I believe that it is patient care that has benefitted the most, as care is optimized when it is provided by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable and skilled," says Barbara. "As an educator, I feel privileged to be in the position to advance knowledge and skills in this way."

Barbara has chosen to donate her $1,000 award to her alma mater, the School of Pharmacy at Memorial University of Newfoundland.



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Graham MacKenzie
Nova Scotia Winner!
PhC, Stone's Pharmasave
Baddeck, NS

Graham MacKenzie is well known is Nova Scotia, as he is the pharmacist-owner of Stone's Pharmasave in Baddeck, the only pharmacy in the province with a compounding facility. Graham became interested in speciality compounding several years ago after the results of the Women's Health Initiative prompted many female patients to seek out alternatives to hormone replacement therapy. To further his education in this area, Graham completed seminars in Gainesville, Florida, Las Vegas and Toronto on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and adrenal fatigue, as well as training sessions from Rocky Mountain Analytical and Diagnostics and hands-on lab training. He is also expanding his education in the areas of transdermal pain management and wound therapy.

"We've had to do a lot of educating—patients, physicians, other pharmacist—about the benefits of speciality compounding," admits Graham, but the work has transformed his practice. Compounding has doubled in recent years, prompting a major pharmacy renovation last year that includes a complete compounding lab and a new private counselling room.

Graham has chosen to donate his $1,000 award to the Victoria County Hospice Society.

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Mary Ellen Rennie
Mary Ellen Rennie
Prince Edward Island Winner!
BScPharm, CGP, The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy
Alberton, PEI

Practising in community pharmacies across Prince Edward Island for more than a decade, Mary Ellen Rennie noticed that more and more of her patients were either seniors or adults caring for their elderly patients. Wanting to improve her expertise in treating this growing demographic, she became a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist in 2007. Since then, Mary Ellen has incorporated the knowledge gained through this program into her practice, working with patients (both in the community and at a local long-term care facility), their physicians and caregivers to adjust and simplify their often complex medication regimes to give them the best care possible.

This past February, Mary Ellen opened her own pharmacy, The Medicine Shoppe in Alberton, where she is using her knowledge and experience in geriatric pharmacy to provide exemplary service to all her patients, young and old. "The skills apply to everyone," she says.

Mary Ellen has chosen to donate her $1,000 Takeda Magnum Opus Award to the Prince Edward Island Alzheimer Society.

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Andrew Brillant
New Brunswick Winner!
BSP, Horizon Health Network
St. John, NB

When Andrew Brillant, a 2003 pharmacy graduate from the University of Saskatchewan, decided that he wanted to expand his practice, it was relatively easy to choose an area of speciality. "There is a lot of evidence that shows the benefit of pharmacists managing anticoagulation therapy, so I thought that would be a good place to start," he says. Last year, he completed a 40-hour anticoagulation therapy management certificate program.

This training has provided him with the knowledge to offer an anticoagulation management service as part of his collaborative practice with the 13 physicians and nurse practitioners associated at the St. Joseph's Community Health Centre in St. John. When the need arises for a patient to consider anticoagulation, the primary care provider will involve Andrew from the very beginning.

Andrew's practice has expanded to include patient education at the time of starting anticoagulants; selecting and prescribing the most appropriate therapy for the patient; interpreting laboratory investigations and adjusting anticoagulant doses; and assessing bridging requirements during patients' peri-operative periods. He now monitors more than 80 patients a month who use blood thinners. Thanks to these services, patients are saved the trouble of making an extra appointment with their physicians, while their physicians are happy to have a knowledgeable resource who can manage their patients' anticoagulation needs right from the start.

Andrew has chosen to donate his $1,000 Takeda Magnum Opus Award to his alma mater, the University of Saskatchewan's College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.

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Philippe de Grandpré
Quebec Winner!
B.Pharm, Pharmacie Chartier et Parolin
Berthierville, QC

Two years ago, Philippe de Grandpré did not hesitate to climb Mount Kilimandjaro in an effort to help raise funds for the Fondation du Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau. Needless to say, this pharmacist isn't afraid of challenges.

Nor did he hesitated to take bold action in order to help improve the life of patients struggling with neuropathic or joint pain at the Chartier et Parolin pharmacy in Berthierville, where he has practiced since 2006. "Patients often consult us on pain issues and I realized that, as a pharmacist, it was possible to help achieve better pain management," he says.

After completing a second-cycle training program on pain management at the University of Sherbrooke, in 2009 Philippe developed a community pharmacy follow-up program for chronic pain, the first of its kind in Quebec. The program has won him a series of distinctions and awards.

Philippe has chosen to donate his $1,000 award to the Association québécoise de la douleur chronique.

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Joyce Chan
Ontario Winner!
PharmD, ACPR, BCPS(AQ Cardiology), CDE Toronto General Hospital
Toronto, ON

Just a quick glance at Joyce Chan's CV reveals her commitment to continuing education. After obtaining her pharmacy degree from the University of Toronto, she pursued a Hospital Pharmacy Residency at The Wellesley Central Hospital. In 2008, she became a certified diabetes educator, and shortly thereafter she also obtained a Certificate in Intensive Tobacco Cessation Counselling from U of T's Faculty of Medicine. The following year, she became a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist, with Added Qualifications in Cardiology in 2010. And this year she completed her Doctor of Pharmacy Program at the University of Colorado.

Joyce's dual interests in diabetes education and smoking cessation have allowed her to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and improve patient care in multiple settings.

"Working in cardiology, I see how interrelated diabetes and smoking are," she says, adding that continuing education has allowed her to "be improve patient education and to help empower them, which is so important."

Joyce has chosen to donate her $1,000 award to the Toronto Chinese Chapter of the Canadian Diabetes Association.


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Colin Reeve
Manitoba Winner!
BSP, CDE, Taché Pharmacy
Winnipeg, MB

Since graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with his bachelor of science in pharmacy in 1995, Colin Reeve has focused on two areas of specialty education: diabetes education (he became a CDE in 1999) and smoking cessation (he completed the Call to Action on Tobacco Addiction program last year). "Professionally, diabetes education naturally segues into smoking cessation, as both go hand in hand with cardiovascular disease prevention, and behavioural change is at the root of success in both areas," he says.

Until recently, Colin provided expanded diabetes education services and specialized smoking cessation counselling services at Taché community pharmacy in Winnipeg. This spring, he took his career and these services to the next level when he became pharmacy manager with the newly opened Taché Pharmacy at Seven Oaks Hospital.

In addition to offering specialized patient services, Colin has also been highly involved in educating his fellow pharmacists about diabetes care and smoking cessation. He is the Manitoba representative for the Canadian Pharmacists Association Diabetes Strategy for Pharmacists, a training program aimed at increasing capacities for pharmacists wishing to increase their diabetes expertise. He was previously involved with the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance , and is currently the Manitoba executive representative for Pharmacists for a Smoke-Free Canada organization.

Colin has chosen to donate his $1,000 Takeda Magnum Opus Award to the Saul Sair Health Centre at Siloam Mission, a well-known medical clinic serving the underprivileged in Winnipeg.

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Melanie McLeod
Saskatchewan Winner!
BSP, ACPR, PharmD, Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region
Regina, SK

Melanie McLeod loves a challenge. So when she felt her practice as a staff pharmacist at the Regina Qu-Appelle Health Region had stagnated, she decided to pursue an advanced degree from the University of Toronto's Doctor of Pharmacy Program. Since graduating in 2010, she has successfully established and developed an innovative practice site within the mental health team in Regina. Based at a specialized, multidisciplinary outpatient clinic three days a week, Melanie now provides clinical consultation services to patients with mental illness.

The work is difficult, but that's part of the appeal to Melanie. "There is nothing cookie-cutter about these cases. I really have to apply the knowledge I've gained from my advanced training," she says. "It's very rewarding."

Melanie has chosen to donate her $1,000 Takeda Magnum Opus Award to the Saskatchewan Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

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Rick Siemens
Alberta Winner!
B.Sc. Pharmacy, B.Sc. Biology, CDE, CPT London Drugs #38
Lethbridge, AL

When Rick Siemens first started practising pharmacy after graduating from the University of Lethbridge in 1996, he saw how desperately patients with diabetes needed help in managing their disease. Seeking to improve his own knowledge of diabetes in order to better serve his patients, he became a certified diabetes educator (CDE) in 1998, and later certified as an insulin pump fitter and continuous glucose monitor trainer. He was one of the first pharmacists in Alberta to be awarded additional prescribing authorization and has been actively initially prescribing since 2007.

For Rick, his speciality training (which also includes certification in injections, ordering laboratory values and travel medicine) is primary about meeting patient needs. "When I see a patient in need, I have to intervene. I can't let them just walk out," says Rick. Continuing education is also important because certification allows pharmacists to present themselves as credible healthcare providers. "Otherwise, there is nothing in pharmacy to say that this practitioner is silver, this one is gold," he says.

Rick actively takes advantage of the expanded scope of practice that his education and certification allows, proven by the triple-volume growth that his pharmacy has enjoyed. "I prescribe every day, and I am confident about my skills as a healthcare professional and more importantly as a pharmacist," he says.

Rick has chosen to donate his $1,000 award to Challenge House, a local 24-hour non-institutional home environment for adults who have suffered brain and spinal cord injuries.

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Ingrid Pidsosny
British Columbia Winner!
BSA, BSCPharm, Loblaw Pharmacy
Courtenay, BC

Ingrid Pidsosny graduated with her pharmacy degree from the University of British Columbia in 2007. In a sense, this degree represents continuing education for Ingrid, as her first degree was in Animal Science from the University of Saskatchewan. After working in a veterinary clinic for a year, she realized she preferred two-legged clients to the four-legged kind, and she took a job as a pharmacy technician at the Loblaw Pharmacy in Courtenay. Nine years later, encouraged by her supervisor, Ingrid went back to school for her pharmacy degree. She is now the pharmacist manager at the same Loblaw Pharmacy where she worked as a tech.

2008 – the year she joined management – was the year of H1N1, and Ingrid was at the front of the line to sign up for injection administration training and fill the desperate need for healthcare professionals who could provide flu shots. "The ability to give injections has been phenomenal for our pharmacy," says Ingrid. "Our flu shot clinics were overwhelming popular. Now all our pharmacists are trained in injection administration, and we offer flu shots to patients on a walk-in basis." Ingrid further expanded her practice by providing immunizations against Hepatitis A and B, shingles and HPV in addition to flu, and by taking her injection services into the community, offering clinics in seniors' homes, at the Kiwanis Club and at the local College.

Also in 2008, Ingrid completed a Methadone Maintenance Training program, which she felt was important in order to offer her patients a full range of services.

Ingrid has chosen to donate her $1,000 Takeda Magnum Opus Award to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in memory of her late father.

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