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John Papastergiou: First prize winner, International Pharmaceutical Federation’s 76th Annual Congress, Pharmacist Association Patient Care Achievement Award for Specialty Practice

John Papastergiou award winnerJohn Papastergiou’s research that explores the use of pharmacogenomics at community pharmacies won first prize at the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s 76th Annual Congress.

John’s poster — Innovative Canadian pharmacogenomic screening initiative in community pharmacy study — presented findings from use of pharmacogenomics in two community pharmacies to improve treatment outcomes. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how people’s genes affect their response to drugs.

Patients at the community pharmacies had their cheeks swabbed, then the cells in the swab were sent to a lab to sequence their genes. A person’s genetic make-up or genotype can affect his or her ability to metabolize or break down drugs — i.e., whether a patient metabolizes a given drug poorly, intermediately, extensively or ultra quickly.

Armed with the pharmacogenomic test results, pharmacists then helped patients to better understand their response to medications and, if appropriate, made recommendations to their physicians to change the drug dose, switch to a different drug or increase monitoring.

John’s research demonstrates the readiness of community pharmacists to adopt innovative genetic screening into their practices as well as how pharmacogenomics at the frontlines of patient care can personalize medication management and improve treatment outcomes.

(Source: University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy News)

Tejal Patel: Canadian Pharmacist Association Patient Care Achievement Award for Specialty Practice

Tejal Patel 2016 OPEN award winning memberWorking with a particularly vulnerable population has given Tejal Patel a keen appreciation for how precious life is. Passionate about her patients, her practice and teaching, Tejal has established herself as a pre-eminent pharmacist, clinician, educator and researcher in the specialty area of neurology.

Tejal joined the Memory Clinic at the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team (CFFM FHT) in 2009 as part of a multi-disciplinary primary care team focused on patients with cognitive impairment.

Her skillful provision of care — reviewing medications, assessing patient and caregiver capabilities, determining drug-related problems and performing cognitive testing — have helped countless patients with Alzheimer’s disease stay in their own homes longer.

“Our Memory Clinic is very unique in that it is a specialty care clinic borne out of a need to bring inter-professional care to primary care, where many individuals with cognitive impairment need access to various health professionals for various reasons,” she says.

The incredible success of the Memory Clinic has been noted, and Tejal has been actively involved in training pharmacists at 80 additional sites across the province, mostly in primary care clinics. Keenly interested in sharing her knowledge and expertise, Tejal continues to act as a resource for questions related to pharmacotherapy, process, documentation and communication. “It is imperative that we continue to train the next generation of pharmacists to provide meaningful care,” she says.

Tejal holds a BScPharm and PharmD from the University of Kentucky and completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Neurology/Pharmacokinetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to her work with CFFM FHT, she is an assistant clinical professor with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo and in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University.

What is the most important thing pharmacists can do for their patients?
“The most important thing we can do is to be advocates for our patients — advocates for the choice of the right drugs for the right duration of time for the right outcomes. Through our long-term relationships with our patients, especially in the community, we know them better than we give ourselves credit for, and it is important that we use that relationship to advocate for the care they want and need.”

(Source: Canadian Pharmacists Association)

Nesé Yuksel: 2016 Canadian Pharmacist of the Year

Nese Yuksel 2016 OPEN award winning memberNesé Yuksel is a dedicated educator, active researcher and valued clinician in the areas of women’s health and osteoporosis. Within each of her practice settings she continues to make significant contributions to the profession of pharmacy and the lives of her patients and students.

A recognized expert in her field, Nesé is intent on bridging her clinical interests and practice-based research to develop innovative techniques to enhance the way pharmacists practise.

“I feel fortunate that my clinical practice has stimulated research ideas and provided opportunities for collaboration with other women’s health researchers and clinicians,” she says. She has led and collaborated on a wide range of research projects, and is excited about her current study on decision-making in women who have had early surgical menopause.

Nesé is passionate about evolving the pharmacist’s role. One of the first 15 pharmacists in Alberta to receive Additional Prescribing Authority (APA) in 2007, Nesé has been a vocal advocate for expanded pharmacist practice and has contributed many hours to committees, publications, interviews and more in support of APA. She is now turning that passion into evidence and collaborating on research to support the uptake of pharmacist prescribing in Alberta.

Well known for her ability to translate complex scientific information for a lay audience, Nesé has delivered numerous presentations around the globe on a variety of women’s health issues and the role of the pharmacist. She is also an award-winning educator, passionate about creating an effective learning environment, and credits her students with keeping her engaged and excited about what she does.

Nesé holds a BSc (Pharm) Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the University of Alberta and a PharmD from the State University of New York. She is currently the Division Chair of Pharmacy Practice and a Professor at the University of Alberta and practises on an interdisciplinary team at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women’s menopause clinic.

What do you like most about what you do?
“Most of all, I love working with patients in the clinic. We have women who have suffered so much with symptoms that have really impacted their lives. It feels so rewarding to see these women empowered to make the best decisions for themselves. I really feel as a team we make a difference in their care.”

(Source: Canadian Pharmacists Association)