Svetlana Lichmanova, Katie Lim, Mihcelle Lianga and George Daskalakis

The True North conference in June 2019 brought over 2,500 attendees together to discuss how technology can be a force for good. Hosted by Communitech, neighbour to the School of Pharmacy, the two-day event featured talks from technology leaders and workshops. Themes included building bridges as technology creators, learning and re-learning in the digital age, and technology’s many possible implications for health.

The intersection of health and technology is a much-discussed topic in the world of pharmacy where tech is increasingly playing a key role in business workflows and patient services. To contribute to the conversation about tech in the pharmacy space, five students from the School of Pharmacy attended True North this year. Their attendance was supported by the Future of Pharmacy Fund, a scholarship program that connects students with opportunities to explore unique career development activities.

“At True North I built meaningful connections with current leaders in the technology industry, as well as with up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking to build on their ground-breaking ideas,” said Ryan Pelletier, a third-year pharmacy student. “We spoke at length regarding the gap that currently exists between the health care sector and technology industry and how we could collaborate to improve our current situation.”

Five smiling students at conference event

The student attendees at a True North social networking event. Back row, left to right: Ryan Pelletier, George Daskalakis, Michelle Liang. Front row: Svetlana Litchmanova, Katie Lim.

The conference proved especially eye-opening for first-year pharmacy student attendees.

“Not only has this event really ignited my passion and excitement for the future of pharmacy and how it could develop beyond what we have now, but it also exposed me to ways that I can help the profession in general to embrace new technologies rather than be anxious or worried about it,” said Michelle Liang of the Rx2022 class.

The careers of the speakers at True North varied widely and that diversity of experiences and perspectives was inspiring to the pharmacy students. It got them thinking: what more could they do to bring conversations about health care and technology back to the School of Pharmacy? That question sparked an idea of founding a new student club.

“My colleagues and I who had the privilege of attending the conference are very pleased to announce the inauguration of our new club called Technology in Pharmacy Network,” said second-year student Svetlana Litchmanova. “Through this club, faculty support, and the connections we made at True North 2019 we hope to expand the interest of technology in the field of pharmacy for our classmates and future students. Our main vision through the Technology in Pharmacy Network is to be able to bring the ever-changing world of technology into the pharmacy profession and to be able to educate the students as well as provide them opportunities within this field of practice.”

Thank you to the supporters of the Future of Pharmacy Fund who made the students’ attendance at this event possible.