Gallery Grid of PharmD student head shots

From January 4 to 7, pharmacy students gathered from across the country in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the annual Professional Development Week (PDW) 2023 conference. Despite the challenges of planning an in-person conference for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PDW 2023 was a phenomenal success, As U of T students, we are excited to accept the baton and look forward to hosting PDW 2024, here in Toronto. 

PDW 2023 opening highlights

The conference opened with a breathtaking gala, a where pharmacy students had the opportunity to connect with fellow delegates.  The following day, keynote speaker Dr. Shawna Pandya. Dr. Pandya delivered an inspiring talk and shared  ten things that have supported her in building resilience, gratitude, and success achieving career goals as a physician, astronaut, and citizen- scientist. 

A series of concurrent sessions on topics ranging from  antibiotic resistance, the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program, improving patient outcomes through strong internal leadership, and trauma-informed care engaged attendees. Students had the exceptional opportunity to learn from pharmacists, leaders, and experts from across Canada. To top the day, the highly-anticipated Canada’s Next Top Pharmacist competition took place with “Canadian Tuxedo” as the theme. Mackenzie Richardson (2T5) represented U of T for the CNTP 2023 crown. His display of pill counting with superior speed and accuracy as part of the competition wowed the audience. 

The event is organized by the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI) National, and students had the opportunity to learn more about ways to be involved with CAPSI. During the Annual General Meeting and Elections, all delegates were provided with an overview of the several committees that make up the council. The CAPSI National Executives also shared their experiences  to help inspire students to run for positions in future elections.

U of T students who serve on the CAPSI National Council

  • Abby Krupski (CSHP Liaison),
  • Al-amin Ahamed (CAPSIL Editor),
  • Ayman Lakhani (Junior CAPSI Representative),
  • Theodora Udounwa (Senior CAPSI Representative).

Research showcase and career fair

At the Health Fair held on Friday afternoon, U of T student Clara Chen presented her poster “The Use of Non-Surgical Treatments in Patients Waiting for Total Hip Anthroplasty” alongside research posters from other pharmacy students. The fair also featured potential employers, including community pharmacy banners, pharmaceutical companies, hospital pharmacy representatives, and professional association representatives. Throughout the fair students had the opportunity to network and consider what the future might hold for their professional journeys. 

Connecting with Indigenous communities

For the conference Social Night, participating delegates were shuttled to the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, where they learned about the cultures of Indigenous Peoples, particularly those of the Northern Plains. At this cultural and educational site, students had the opportunity to either prepare Bannock, build a tipi or learn about technological practices in the Northern Plains. Cultural safety is a necessary component of care provided by pharmacy students and  visiting Wanuskewin was an important experience to help build knowledge and skills necessary to provide culturally safe and competent care to Indigenous Peoples. 

The conference wrapped up with “Pharmafacts” bowl, where 10 teams of four students each engaged in fierce, pharmacy trivia and knowledge competition.

A number of the U of T delegates described the conference experience as “thrilling”, “eye-opening”, and something all pharmacy students should attend at least once.”

U of T prizes and recognition: 


National Competitions

Apotex IPSF Health Campaign Award

1st place

CPhA Award of Professionalism

2nd place 

Loblaw’s Patient Interview Competition

Amar Deonandan (2T3), 2nd place

PharmaChoice Advice for Life Presentation Competition

Arnold Ruste (2T3), 2nd place 

Student Literary Challenge

Arnold Ruste (2T3), 4th place 

Medisca Compounding Competition

Adam Da Costa Gomes (2T6), Clara Dai (2T4), Meriam Salih (2T6) & Rachel Ma (2T4), 4th place 

Pharmafacts Competition

Godwin Chan (2T5), Logan Groves (2T3), Meriam Salih (2T6) & Stephanie Rosenbaum (2T4), 5th place



Local Competitions

Loblaw’s Patient Interview Competition

Amar Deonandan (2T3)

Medisca Compounding Competition

Adam Da Costa Gomes (2T6), Clara Dai (2T4), Meriam Salih (2T6) & Rachel Ma (2T4)

Pyrls Over-the-Counter Competition

Sasha Mohindra (2T5)

PharmaChoice Advice for Life Presentation Competition

Al-amin Ahamed (2T4)

Student Literary Challenge

Arnold Ruste (2T3)

PDW Research Poster Competition

Clara Chen (2T6)

PDW T-Shirt Design Contest

Al-amin Ahamed (2T4)

Pharmafacts Pre-Bowl

Logan Groves (2T3), Adil Chowdhry (2T4), Hwiyeon Kim (2T5), Bassam Fares (2T6)

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