Balloons spelling out pharmacy
Monday, October 30, 2023

Waterloo Pharmacy's eighth CE Saturday alumni event brings pharmacists, students and alums together

Women in Pharmacy Leadership networking lunch and panel session combine with CE Saturday

On September 23, 2023, Waterloo Pharmacy hosted their annual alumni reunion event, CE Saturday in the morning and a Women in Pharmacy Leadership (WIPL) networking lunch and panel session in the afternoon. The School welcomed alumni, pharmacists and students to discuss important topics including sustainable practices in pharmacy, best practices for primary care patients in Ontario, new models of oncology care and how to use your voice as a pharmacy leader.

This year’s keynote presentation, Prescription for Change: Advancing Sustainable Practices in the Pharmacy Profession, was delivered by Katherine Gruenberg, associate professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Gruenberg spoke on the strong link between climate change and social determinants of health and how pharmacists can help patients adapt to changes they’re already experiencing.

A woman on a zoom call

Healthcare providers have a key role to play in climate mitigation and adaption.

Dr. Katherine Gruenberg, associate professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy

She listed ways pharmacists can help transition to changing the impacts of climate change for patients:

  • Choose medications with lower greenhouse gas emissions, convert to dry-powered inhalers and switch from intravenous to oral medications
  • Counsel on mental health coping mechanisms associated with climate change
  • Identify and protect vulnerable populations, help patients create an action plan
  • Educate patients on safe medication disposal
  • Offer non-pharmaceutical therapies where appropriate

For those interested in joining different groups, Dr. Gruenberg recommends getting involved with the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists sustainability in pharmacy recommendations and the newly formed Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment group.

The second speakers, pharmacists Mat Demarco (Rx2011) and Trish Rawn from the Centre of Effective Practice, presented clinical tools to support best practices for primary care with an overview on the resources and tools that can help practicing pharmacists.

To conclude the morning presentations, Tom McFarlane, clinical lecturer at the School and pharmacist Jason Wentzell discussed the importance of oncology care in the community..

During the afternoon an exciting panel discussion on using your voice in pharmacy leadership was featured by the WIPL program. Panelists included pharmacist Aska Patel (Rx2016), Kelly Grindrod associate professor at the School, pharmacist Mary Adegboyega and moderated by Sarah Christie.

Women sitting next to one another in discussion

L-R: Dr. Kelly Grindrod, Mary Adegboyega, Aska Patel and Sarah Christie

One message I’ve gathered is if you feel like you need to do something and you keep thinking about it, I encourage you to take the risk.

Aska Patel, Rx2016

“Women are generally looked at as the quiet ones. Our nature is to hide our thoughts and feelings,” says Adegboyega. “Let us break the cycle of the thought many women have, ‘I’m a woman and therefore I can’t be’. We must take a position of strength and show the great things we can accomplish regardless of gender. It’s about what you carry and what your purpose is.”

Each panelist shared their professional experiences and the moment they identified their own voice.

“It can be uncomfortable to have a strong voice,” says Dr. Grindrod. “I didn’t always know how to push my voice strategically and had a hard time finding others who were challenging norms, asking questions and looking for diverse views.”

Conversations revolved around speaking up professionally, continuously adapting to new situations, transitioning your voice from one area of your life to another, stepping out of your comfort zone and encouraging others to use their voice.

Many thanks to participants, speakers and the many donors who make the WIPL program possible. We are also grateful to our event sponsors: OnPharm-United, McKesson Canada, Scotiabank and Green Shield Canada.

Thank you to everyone who hosted, presented, participated, and tuned in (both virtually and in-person)!