2024 W.L. Boddy Pharmacy Team Award: Shoppers Drug Mart Terra Losa Centre

Back row (left to right): Kristina Jumangit, Rebecca Ferrao, Grace Sompreque, Kriti Khera, Steven Lee, Hala Moustafa, Richard Lee

Front row (left to right): Ivanluza Goes, Stephanie Vuong, Taranjeet Kaur, Jenny Vuong, Mary Ann Mendezona, Leian Samson, Sumeyye Ozer, S. M. Chang

Missing: Basma Al Ani, Hilda Amatorio, Ivy Balala, Akanju Bebetta, Amardeep Dhir, Ravinder Dhuggal, Ying Fan, Sigourney Gillego, Julie Heung, Ally Houle, Manmeet Kaur, Ramanjot Kaur, Laura Kim, Laura Le, Xiao Luo, Henry Ma, Deane MacDonald, Jacqueline Manalang, Vance Martinez, Kendra Montes, Linna Nguyen, Jyoti Palak, Janki Patel, Arshdeep Sharma, B. Urmi Sheikh, Alice Sison, Megan So, Czarina Soliven, Vishaly Sunger, Gladys Timogan, Craziella Tolentino, Amanda Visscher, Emily Vuong, Desiree Yau, Sharon Zhuang

This award is presented to a healthcare team (pharmacy staff team or multidisciplinary team that includes one or more pharmacists) in Alberta who, by virtue of their collaboration skills and use of the pharmacist’s full scope of practice, positively impacted the health of individuals in their community. 

 This year’s recipient is the pharmacy team at Shoppers Drug Mart Terra Losa Centre. Led by Stephanie Vuong, Pharmacy Manager, and Richard Lee, Compounding Pharmacy Manager, this team consists of over 50 individuals, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, students, interns and pharmacy assistants. Their collective goal is admirable – to improve healthcare accessibility for all.

One of the key areas the team excels in is its exceptional performance in compounding services, where the highly skilled Compounding Team operates tirelessly from 7 am to 10 pm daily, including holidays. Serving over 130 pharmacies, they ensure patients across Alberta and the Northwest Territories have access to essential compounded medications. Their dedication was especially evident during medication shortages, where they went above and beyond to secure and deliver vital medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Continuing to navigate the challenges of drug shortages, the team collaborates with other pharmacies, conducts research on compounding formulas, and works closely with vendors and Health Canada to secure essential compounding ingredients. In a strategic move, they obtained a Health Canada dealer’s license to expand access to controlled medications for patients.

Beyond compounding, the team places a strong emphasis on primary care accessibility. The retail pharmacy operates on a walk-in basis, ensuring patients can consult with a prescribing pharmacist, receive vaccinations, undergo POCT tests and seek professional advice during all open hours. Overcoming language barriers is another facet of their commitment, with a multicultural team capable of speaking over 15 different languages and dialects, promoting inclusivity and enhancing patient care.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of their approach. The team works closely with physicians, health aides, nurses, and social workers at long-term care homes, providing blister-packing services to many homes and residents. Collaborations extend to physiotherapists who refer patients to prescribing pharmacists on the team to provide medications that enhance their recovery or care. Active involvement with the Opioid Dependency Program underscores their commitment to facilitating patients’ access to addiction services.

Their engagement in the PILUTS study with Dr. Sadowski highlights their dedication to advancing pharmaceutical knowledge. Serving as dedicated preceptors at the University of Alberta, all of the pharmacists mentor and shape the next generation of pharmacists. Team member, Amanda Visscher received the Community Preceptor of the Year award, showcasing their commitment to education and professional growth.

The team’s commitment extends beyond professional realms to community investment initiatives. In 2023 alone, they raised close to $10,000 for various causes, including support for the Lois Hole Hospital, the Lurana Shelter, the Waterford of Summerlea retirement home during the NWT wildfire evacuation, and the Terra Centre, aiding pregnant teens and teenage parents. These contributions reflect their dedication to positively impacting the local community.

These accomplishments are a testament to the unwavering commitment and strong engagement of the Shoppers Drug Mart Terra Losa Centre pharmacy team. Their collaborative efforts toward bettering the community and ensuring equitable access to exceptional care make them deserving of recognition for their outstanding contributions to patient access in Alberta and the pharmacy profession. Despite facing challenges in the pharmacy environment, their thriving culture, camaraderie and commitment to both patient care and each other’s well-being set them apart in the current healthcare landscape. Jenny Vuong, Associate/Owner, takes pride in their humble dedication and daily commitment to delivering exceptional care, emphasizing the importance of a team that prioritizes both patient care and mutual support.