Co-ops Evolve with the Changing Landscape of Pharmacy

S2BN's Waterloo chapter held a panel event on May 13th for pharmacy students to discuss the non-traditional coop options, which may kick-start a fulfilling career in a non-traditional path.

The panel consisted of University of Waterloo Pharmacy students and graduates, sharing their experiences in unique pharmacy roles including Canadian Pharmacists Association, Ontario Ministry of Health Exceptional Access Program, and McCann Health Marketing agency. The participants were able to appreciate the value of furthering education in business, marketing, corporate, and research through the fruitful conversations with the 11 panelists.

A quick review of our panelists can be found below:

1. Andrew Savo touched on his experiences at Wal-Mart Head Office in Mississauga, where his work was reflected in Wal-Mart stores across Canada. He discussed his role in mirroring the United States’ Wellness days model and the implementation processes involved.

2. Harvit Gill and Carmen Liu provided insights to the Exceptional Access Program (EAP) at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) in North York. Their office work roles were diverse in nature and reflected the benefit of having therapeutic knowledge in their day-to-day cases.

3. Brad Grightmire discussed his role working at the Ontario Pharmacy Association (OPA). More specifically, he work in advocacy, having met with politicians to give a voice to pharmacists within government. The importance of this governing board for the Pharmacy profession was clearly depicted through his words.

4. Sarah Tessier worked at Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), where she worked on national-level webinars and project work. She thoroughly enjoyed her work there and reflected on her new skill-set that she otherwise would not have been obtain through a classroom setting alone.

5. David Nguyen discussed the role of pharmacists in pharmaceutical industry, referencing his experience at TerrAscend, a cannabis company located in Mississauga. He spoke about the upcoming role of cannabis as an important tool for chronic pain and the importance of research in this upcoming area.

6. Khrystine Waked worked as a research assistant at the University of Waterloo. She worked closely with faculty and attended national conferences where she delivered talks and presentations. She specifically discussed her role in EMS systems research, hoping to create a path for better infrastructure in health care.

7. George Daskalakis provided insights on research with his position at the University of Toronto. He spoke about the importance of pharmacists understanding research and literature in order to provide better optimal patient care.

8. Colleen Louise discussed her contributions at Manulife Insurance as a drug fraud analyst. She detailed the value pharmacists bring to this role with their therapeutics knowledge and billing experiences.

9. Tania Ng provided insights to her unique role at McCann Pharmacy, a pharmacy advertising agency located in the heart of Toronto. As a Pharmacy Writer, she worked in a diverse team of marketing specialists, and provided advertising expertise to pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and GSK.

10. John Kim worked in Medical Affairs at Sanofi Pasteur in North York and discussed his role in this large Pharmaceutical Industry. He described his role as research-heavy and found immense benefit in his placement there.

This pharmacy-geared event was truly unique in its showcase of the variety of career opportunities for pharmacists after graduation. The insights shared at this event were invaluable to the participants.

We are thankful to our speakers for joining us in spreading their words of wisdom. The panel gave participants the opportunity to learn about pharmacy career opportunities outside the norm or expectations, and increased awareness of the importance of connecting business and science.

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