Dean’s Message: Celebrating Pharmacy Appreciation Month
March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month (PAM), an annual event when pharmacy professionals across Canada are recognized for our critical contributions to health care. There are more than 46,000 pharmacists in Canada practicing in a variety of settings and providing trusted and accessible care in every community. Pharmacists are key contributors to health care teams, providing medication expertise and advice to other health professionals to ensure safe and effective use of medications. At the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, we are also leaders in shaping and visioning the future of pharmacy practice in the delivery of our educational programs, through health systems research and policy influence, and the scholarship of education in health professions.
Pharmacists are passionate about advancing our profession and providing high-quality patient care. As we continue to experience significant strains on our health system, pharmacists are consistently stepping-up to address the increasingly complex needs of patients and are providing solutions to improve integrated care. Pharmacists are taking on an increased role in primary care, filling care gaps with pharmacy clinic services. With the expanded scope of practice now a reality in Ontario, pharmacists are helping more patients get connected to the care they need. This extends to our U of T community and the Discovery Pharmacy, where we are now assessing and prescribing for several common health conditions through the Minor Illness Consultation service. And, excitingly, our students are working and learning alongside preceptors as these new services are being rolled out in real time across the province.
PAM at U of T
Each year, our PharmD students actively engage in PAM by creating events to promote the role of pharmacists in health care and opportunities for student professional development and networking. Led by our Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI) U of T representatives, this month of activities is always impressive and inspiring. You can keep up to date with these student-led events by following @capsiuoft and @uoftpam2023 on Instagram. Thank you to our student leaders Theodora Udounwa, CAPSI Senior Representative and Ayman Lakhani, CAPSI Junior Representative, for leading PAM at U of T and to the many other student club leaders who are organizing events this month.
I am so pleased that we can return to in-person events this year and I encourage all our PharmD students to get involved and take advantage of the opportunities PAM brings.
In addition to student-led events, you can also follow our official Faculty social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and check in to our PAM 2023 online hub. Throughout the month, we will be regularly adding new content that showcases the scope of our work and celebrates pharmacy. If you are active on social media, you can share these stories by using the hashtags #PAM2023 and #ThankYouPharmacy.
Maintaining focus on mental health and wellness
In 2023, the momentum in pharmacy is palpable. Since the pandemic, pharmacy has continued to drive to the forefront of health care. We’ve continued to build connections with our patients, across health professions, and with key government stakeholders. But this does not mean pharmacists or pharmacy students have been immune to the strains and pressures in the health care system and related occupational stress. The need to focus on the health of health care workers also remains top of mind.
Two upcoming events are centred around this important topic:
From surviving to thriving: The current state of pharmacy workforce wellness and where we go from here.
March 2, online from 4 – 5pm
In this CPE Speaker Series session, Canadian Pharmacist Association’s Chief Pharmacist Officer, Danielle Paes, will share national survey results that offer insight into pharmacists' current levels of mental health and well-being.
Mental Health for Healthcare Workers: Steps to Solutions
March 22 online from 7- 8:30 p.m.
Presented by the faculties of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work, this panel will explore issues impacting the mental health of our health care workers and steps that can be taken to work towards sustainable solutions.
There are many more upcoming events taking place across the pharmacy community and I look forward to celebrating PAM 2023 with you. I appreciate the opportunity to say thank you to everyone in our Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy community – our pharmacy phamily – for your work and commitment to this outstanding profession.
Professor and Dean
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto