March is a busy time for pharmacy professionals as we come together to celebrate Pharmacy Appreciation Month (PAM). Countless clubs at the faculty led by the Undergraduate Pharmacy Society (UPS) rose to the occasion to provide pharmacy students with a month-long line-up of exciting events. The CAPSI U of T team fondly reflects on this year's in-person celebrations.
PAM 2023 started strong with UPS and CAPSI collaborating to host, 'Wake Up to PAMCakes!' For the first time since the pandemic, students had the opportunity to kickstart PAM in-person and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast. Dean Lisa Dolovich, Jonathan Nhan, Pharmacy Lead, Discovery Pharmacy, and Sara Ingram, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, were present as guest speakers on behalf of the Faculty, including the Discovery Pharmacy, and the Ontario Pharmacist’s Association (OPA).
Every year, CAPSI hosts various PAM events including the 2T4 Mock OSCEs, Kids in Medicine (KIM), Pharmacy Outreach Days (PODs), an IPE Event on Bipolar Disorder, IPSF initiatives, and Toronto Next’s Top Pharmacist (TNTP).
This year, we restored the format of KIM and PODs to in-person initiatives. With the 2T4 CAPSI Representatives, Sanaz Chenani and Valentina Zapata, and the KIM and PODs subcommittees, five presentations and three posters were developed for outreach at elementary and secondary schools and community pharmacies. At the schools, about 80 students in total received presentations on the topic of allergies and food hygiene, smoking cessation, or sexual health by Christina Kang, Theodora Udounwa, Yas Zareyan, Kira Walker, Obinna Okafor-Justin, Maryam Majeed, Kevin Li and Sanaz Karimi. The presentations raised awareness of the contribution of pharmacists delivering care and received positive feedback.
Pharmacy Outreach Days
In the community pharmacy setting, our PODs subcommittee members displayed infographics on diabetes, travel medicine, and naloxone/opioid stewardship. Huy Pham, Pamela Molina, Kira Walker, Christina Kang, Yas Zareyan and Natalie Chaput engaged passersby in conversation, answering questions about their general health or routine services which pharmacists can provide within their scope. We are proud of our subcommittee members for being champions for patient care and providing education on the role of pharmacists to the general public.
The 2T5 CAPSI Representatives, Lina Lo and Alyssa Matsumura, led the planning of this year’s mega IPE Event on Bipolar Disorder. Around 150 students from several healthcare programs in Ontario were in attendance. Healthcare students learned more about the roles played by providers outside their fields in caring for patients with bipolar disorder. Guest speakers included pharmacist Sunny Wang, social worker Cassidy Smith, nurse Maureen Sayeg, and physician Dr. Urvashi Prasad. Along with presentations, this event also featured a video filmed by the IPE subcommittee illustrating the patient case of interest. Planning this event involved collaboration with the U of T Chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (UTIHI) and CAPSI University of Waterloo to recruit 17 student facilitators.
Toronto’s Next Top Pharmacist – Tina Zhou (2T4)
Themed Pandemic Superheroes, CAPSI’s Toronto’s Next Top Pharmacist (TNTP) 2023 was a hit! Six contestants showcased their unique talents and amazing catwalks: Tina Zhou, Adam Da Costa Gomes, Setayesh Yazdani, Elin Foulds, Mia Lefebvre, and Sara Rough. All the contestants put on a great performance with their classy showmanship. In case you missed it, you can check out the TNTP 2023 reel on Instagram. Event judges Dr. Dubins, Dr. Crandall, Professor Swanson and Mackenzie Richardson (TNTP 2022 winner) had a tough time crowning the TNTP 2023 winner. After tallying the points, with a close win, Tina seized the TNTP crown and will be representing University of Toronto at CNTP happening at Professional Development Week (PDW) 2024, here in Toronto. A total of $155 raised from this event has been donated to the Toronto Humane Society. This charity was selected by Tina to support animal sheltering and reduce homelessness. In her own words, “as pharmacy students and future pharmacists, we are equipped to provide patient care and help save human lives; however, it is important to remember that pets can be important motivators for patients’ healthy choices and behaviors.” Thank you to 2T6 CAPSI Representatives, Meriam Salih and Sanaz Karimi, for organizing TNTP 2023 and being first-class MCs.
Unique to this year, Theodora Udounwa and Ayman Lakhani organized a lunch-and-learn with Immunize.io, a not-for-profit organization based in British Columbia. The objective of this event was to increase the knowledge of pharmacy students in the context of vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy beyond what we learn during formal injection training at school. Around 20 students attended and some shared that despite not having a lot of vaccination experience from community practice, they found the presentation very informative.
Alongside other Canadian pharmacy schools, CAPSI U of T held a pill drop in collaboration with the Faculty and the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) U of T on March 10 where over 2100 medication units were safely disposed. On a national scale, we participated in the CAPSI National Virtual Meet & Greet and PAM merchandise sale.A profit of $300 from the sale was donated to Indspire Canada in support of improving education access to Indigenous peoples.
Pill Drop – Safe medication disposal event
In line with their Medication Awareness Campaign, IPSF representatives Alissa Kong and Sasha Mohindra led a variety of initiatives throughout the month to improve awareness about the pharmacist’s role in medication safety. As mentioned above, IPSF UofT joined our local CAPSI branch for a national initiative to encourage the safe disposal of prescription and OTC medications. In collaboration with Discovery Pharmacy's Jonathan Nhan and Tianna Costa from CAMH, IPSF hosted an opioid stewardship and naloxone training workshop. IPSF also organized a bake sale and raffle with proceeds being donated to Drug Free Kids Canada. Finally, students drove home what they learned from IPSF’s initiatives by participating in an interactive prompt to answer the question “How will you promote medication awareness as a pharmacy student?” It was clear from the responses that the IPSF initiatives committee inspired students to practice medication safety.
The UPS and CAPSI U of T are immensely grateful to National Bank, Loblaws Pharmacy, Metro, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Sobeys, OPA and the Faculty for sponsoring this year’s Student Support Fund, which makes it possible for clubs to organize their various events.
Thank you to UPS Marketing Directors, Joy Wang and Hitisha Solanki who worked hard to provide CAPSI U of T with all the promotional materials for PAM and Toronto's Next Top Pharmacist (TNTP).
Lastly, thank you to all club executives for planning their PAM events. Everyone contributed a significant amount this month to ensure all pharmacy students received a well-rounded PAM experience. CAPSI could not have hosted such a successful PAM month without everyone’s contributions.
Once again, wishing everyone a ‘Happy PAM!’ and we look forward to 2024!
CAPSI UofT Winter 2023 Council
Theodora Udounwa - CAPSI Senior Representative
Alissa Kong - IPSF Senior Representative
Ayman Lakhani - CAPSI Junior Representative
Sasha Mohindra - IPSF Junior Representative
Sanaz Chenani - 2T4 Representative
Valentina Zapata - 2T4 Representative
Alyssa Matsumura - 2T5 Representative
Lina Lo - 2T5 Representative
Meriam Salih - 2T6 Representative
Sanaz Karimi - 2T6 Representative
IPE: Alyssa Matsumura, Kalid Ibsa, Lina Lo, Natalie Chaput, Setayesh Yazdani, Yas Zareyan, Yuji Choi, Theodora Udounwa, Ayman Lakhani
IPSF: Caitlin Lam, Judy Truong, Uroosa Abbas, Alissa Kong, Sasha Mohindra
KIM: Christina Kang, Emily Crosier, Hannah Shaio, Jahnvi Bhasker, Keerat Kandola, Kevin Li, Kira Walker, Maryam Majeed, Natalie Chaput, Obinna Okafor-Justin, Pamela Molina, Samir Kanji, Sanaz Chenani, Sanaz Karimi, Uroosa Abbas, Valentina Zapata, Yas Zareyan, Theodora Udounwa, Ayman Lakhani
PODs: Caitlin Lam, Christina Kang, Huy Pham, Judy Truong, Kay-Ann Ormsby, Kira Walker, Natalie Chaput, Pamela Molina, Sanaz Chenani, Valentina Zapata, Yas Zareyan, Theodora Udounwa, Ayman Lakhani
TNTP: Huy Pham, Meriam Salih, Sanaz Karimi, Varun Gupta, Theodora Udounwa, Ayman Lakhani
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