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Jonathan Lu wins for Public Protector at the Pharmacy Practice + Business Awards

The Pharmacy Practice + Business Awards recognize Canadian pharmacy professionals providing exceptional patient care and demonstrating creativity and innovation in pharmacy practice. We are pleased to introduce this year’s winners.
Man with glasses smiling

Why they won: When Ontario’s long-term care pharmacy sector was impacted by a transition from a fee-for-service to capitation model in 2020, the result was significant cuts to pharmacy operations. But rather than lay off staff and reduce operations for seniors, Silver Fox Pharmacy adapted its service to address those early needs during the pandemic. As a family-owned senior care pharmacy, Jonathan Lu and his team were quick to act to provide the best care possible.

Among numerous initiatives championed by the team was one of the first LTC-specific e-prescribing platforms that let prescribers order and review medications securely and remotely, with nurse access to complete order processing and immediate transmission to pharmacy. As evidence emerged around best practices in COVID-19 care, Silver Fox Pharmacy worked with medical directors and leaders in the space to develop COVID order sets to guide clinical decisions, which were upated as new information came to light. This has included a dedicated Paxlovid order set to guide prescribing, clinical decisions and document eligibility.

The pharmacy also implemented an outbreak on-call pharmacist to support clinical needs after hours, and partnered with Silver Lining Health Care to ensure all their homes received required medical supplies, including surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, gowns, sanitizer and face shields.

Even when the majority of nursing staff were off due to illness, pharmacy staff went on-site and supported them daily for weeks until staffing stabilized. Having staff on the front lines further highlighted pharmacy’s role in long-term care and its potential to help alleviate and pilot important care decisions.

Check out the other winners!


What do you most enjoy about what you do?

I’ve been able to make my work part of my life, or to borrow a term, ikigai. My day-to-day tasks are varied and engaging, whether it’s direct patient care or IT development. While working in pharmacy has been hard these past years with strains on funding and staffing, there is still work to be done and I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing colleagues and a stellar team that make it happen.

Is there someone who mentored you, or served as a role model?

It’s hard to pick a single role model because I’ve been shaped by a diverse community of people. The ethics of daily life provided by my family inform my work and continuous learning. Colleagues and preceptors have shaped my professional practice. My friends ground me in life, and some motivate me to be a better person.

What is your biggest challenge?

Lately, it’s determining the boundaries of a sustainable and scalable pharmacy practice. The past three years have highlighted the importance of work-life balance and the limits of individual excellence, so it has been a question of how to sustain and foster excellence in a pharmacy practice, whether it be through procedures, culture or technology.

Name something you’re really good at, that has nothing to do with pharmacy.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the arts. I used to teach violin and I’m a competent enough multi-instrumentalist.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young pharmacist who wants to make a difference in their career?

Sometimes there is a difference between hard work and smart work.

What’s your favourite way to spend time outside of work?

Every day after work I do a workout to be in my body and take a break from my head, which I think has helped me become more resilient, healthy and balanced.

Otherwise, I really enjoy communal activities—I grew up with Italian neighbours and my family have carried the tradition of tomato passata since I was eight years old. One of my favourite annual events is hosting a dumpling- and lantern-making party for my friends.

What’s next for you—any goals or dreams you hope to achieve in the future?

I’m trying to improve my Mandarin and keep my indoor plants alive.