Portrait of Alumnus Carolyn Keystone

Jim Meekison and Carolyn Keystone Foundation supports pharmacy services research and interdisciplinary education through Discovery Pharmacy

A significant gift from the Jim Meekison and Carolyn Keystone Foundation is providing critical start-up funding for the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy’s Discovery Pharmacy, which recently launched an incubator space on campus.  The $250,000 donation will support the operating expenses of the pharmacy, including equipment and supplies, construction and professional services.

“We’re excited to be part of this and see how the Discovery Pharmacy grows,” says Carolyn Keystone. “I’m interested to see where it goes and how much the students and university embrace it.”

Keystone graduated from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. She spent five years working in community pharmacy, then had a long career in health and beauty merchandising and distribution, starting with national pharmacy companies before launching her own distribution company. She sold her distribution company in the 1990s, remaining president until her retirement in 2007.

Since retiring, she has been involved in many philanthropic activities, including serving as vice-chair of the Jim Meekison and Carolyn Keystone Foundation, which supports research and education in health care and the arts.

As Keystone approached the 50th anniversary of her convocation from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, she knew she wanted to support the Faculty and the U of T. She was particularly drawn to the new Discovery Pharmacy, especially the unique opportunity to be involved from the ground up.

"I hope our gift will ultimately help improve interdisciplinary training for all health care disciplines."

The Discovery Pharmacy will serve patients from the U of T community, starting with offering COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots. But it will also be a research site, where students and faculty members will lead research and test innovations in delivering pharmacy services to improve patient care throughout the profession.

Importantly, the pharmacy will also offer multi-disciplinary experiential education for students from several of the university’s health care faculties. Keystone, who has several family members working as physicians, was keenly interested in the Discovery Pharmacy’s collaborative approach to health care and education.

“I like that the pharmacy is going to be very active with students and service the U of T community, as well as offer a real-world education experience and include some research,” says Keystone. “And I love that it is going to be home to a lot of the health care professionals across U of T. I hope our gift will ultimately help improve interdisciplinary training for all health care disciplines.”

After several years of planning, the incubator space of the Discovery Pharmacy recently began operating in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. In its next phases, it will progress toward becoming a living laboratory and training hub, ultimately having a presence on all three U of T campuses, with the flagship Discovery Pharmacy space to be located in the Faculty building’s atrium.

“The Discovery Pharmacy will play an integral role in both the future evolution of the profession, and in educating the best-qualified pharmacists we have ever produced. The support of the Foundation is essential in providing the resources we need to research and develop new ways of teaching students, collaborating with patients and other professionals, and delivering the best possible care to our diverse communities,” says Zubin Austin, chair of the Discovery Pharmacy’s Research Subcommittee. 

“In the years to come, innovations flowing from Discovery Pharmacy – and the students who have trained there – will transform the practice of our profession. We are so grateful to Jim Meekison and Carolyn Keystone for both their generous support and their vision of what pharmacy can and should be in the future.”

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