Iris Chiu and Vincent Le

March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month (PAM), an annual opportunity to celebrate pharmacy and the integral role pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play in healthcare. At the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, PAM also provides a platform to showcase the diverse skills of our #ImPharmacy community and the range of contributions many people make to pharmacy education.

Here we spotlight Iris Chiu and Vincent Le, who support education and training of U of T pharmacy students and future pharmacists.

In their unique roles, both Iris and Vincent play a part in shaping the future of pharmacy.

Iris Chiu

As a pharmacist at U of T’s Discovery Pharmacy, Iris Chiu is committed to fostering a culture of innovation and excellence. With a background in cell and systems biology, Iris combines scientific knowledge and a passion for providing high quality healthcare. 

In your current role, how do you support students and the broader pharmacy community? 

In my current role as a pharmacist at Discovery Pharmacy, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside pharmacy students from the PharmD program who are integral to our pharmacy team. Our pharmacy is dedicated to fostering an environment where these students can flourish. We offer clinical rotations for fourth-year students and, throughout the rotation, they progressively take on more responsibilities and duties that demand clinical expertise. It is rewarding to witness their growth and development over the course of time with us. I hope that the students will be inspired by the quality of service we provide and carry it towards their future careers.

As a recent graduate, I am also learning and gaining experience from my role at Discovery Pharmacy. It differs from typical community pharmacy because Discovery Pharmacy uses an appointment-based model that aims to provide personalized patient-centered care and helps improve pharmacy workflow. We also provide unique services such as health orientation geared to U of T’s international student population. I hope to see this model of care expand to the broader pharmacy community in the future.

Is there a particular aspect of your job that you find most rewarding?

One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is having meaningful interactions with patients. Whether it is for consultations on medication management or non-pharmacological means such as encouraging lifestyle changes in diet or exercise to improve health. Being able to empower them with knowledge and support to make informed decisions about their health is incredibly gratifying.

What advice would you give to students considering a career in pharmacy?

Pharmacy can be a very rewarding career as we are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals with a lot of opportunities to interact and help patients. The field of pharmacy is changing rapidly with expanding scope of practice for minor ailment prescribing so it is an exciting career where you never stop learning as there will always be something new. 

Vincent Le

As a laboratory coordinator in the professional practice laboratory at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, Vincent Le, a pharmacy technician, understands the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in healthcare delivery.

In your current role, how do you support students and the broader pharmacy community?

Sharing my practical experiences and knowledge with students, I aim to guide them through the intricate world of the pharmaceutical industry. I'm passionate about continuous learning and development, and I strive to inspire students to embrace lifelong learning. Collaborating with fellow pharmacists and technicians, I believe in providing comprehensive care, setting an example for those aspiring to join the profession.

Is there a particular aspect of your job that you find most rewarding?

From the very first day, the embrace of the pharmacy community has been nothing short of heartwarming. Witnessing the journey of students, from their initial orientation—full of anticipation and curiosity—to the momentous day they don their regalia, is a profound transformation. To be part of this journey, to watch as students evolve into professionals ready to make their mark on the world, is a privilege that fills one with an immense sense of pride and joy.

What advice would you give to students considering a career in pharmacy?

Explore your options and gain exposure to different pharmacy settings, such as community, hospital, and clinical research to understand and find what is best for you. Continue to grow and develop your teamwork, communication, and empathy. Be aware that the dedication of being a pharmacist and reflect on your reasons for choosing pharmacy and ensure they align with your lifelong goals and personal values. A career in pharmacy is not just about dispensing medications; it’s about improving patient health and being an integral part of the healthcare team.

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