RxA’s Leadership Cohort

RxA’s Leadership Cohort is a grassroots initiative to establish a province-wide group of pharmacist leaders willing and enabled to promote and share the work of RxA and pharmacists with other pharmacists, patients, policymakers, influencers, and elected officials, increasing understanding of the value of the profession. 

Leadership Cohort Members are responsible for:

  • Building relationships, leadership networks and opportunities to champion the role of pharmacists as valued members of the healthcare system.
  • Supporting pharmacists in their advocacy efforts and assist them in practicing in the Alberta Practice Model.
  • Providing grassroots, frontline feedback on policies and issues that affect practice and the profession.

Meet your Leadership Cohort.

Making a Difference…

Meet the Leadership Cohort members who are making a difference everyday.

Meet Mark Percy

It is an incredible honour to be your Alberta Pharmacists’ Association President for the 2022-2023 term. I am following in the footsteps of many outstanding Alberta pharmacy leaders that have pushed us forward. Since joining the RxA Board of Directors in 2017, one of my key learnings has been to better understand the interconnected nature of our healthcare system and what is required to enact change. RxA connects Alberta pharmacists to all facets, and it is important that RxA not only represents Alberta pharmacists but that Alberta pharmacists are united alongside RxA.

The last few years have been among the most challenging in recent history for front line healthcare providers. I am incredibly proud to see pharmacists step up to each challenge and bridge gaps. At a large scale, we have seen pharmacists provide immunization, triage, support chronic disease management, and navigate complex drug shortages through prescribing and critical thinking. Alberta pharmacists have professionally enjoyed our expanded scope of practice for many years, but both government and the general public have now recognized the important role that pharmacists play. With that said, there is so much more that we could do for the benefit of our patients and the healthcare system with some obstacles removed.

I strongly believe in RxA’s Leadership Cohort as a grassroots mechanism for change. The membership and role of the cohort should continue to expand because it has been successful on a number of levels. RxA created the Leadership Cohort to facilitate engagement across the province, share updates, provide guidance on key initiatives and gather feedback. The Leadership Cohort is also a mechanism to create alignment and knowledge translation across our profession. When elected officials and government hear the same message across the province, the impact is lasting and helps to focus change compared to many fractured messages.

In addition to grassroots engagement, RxA must look toward the future. Your RxA Board of Directors has proactively identified and explored emerging issues across the profession to provide a balanced perspective and plan. A strategic plan was created this past summer, defining many short term and long term goals, with many action items already in progress. An example includes the expansion of novel, targeted therapies that involve Patient Support Programs (PSPs) and dedicated pharmacies. Nearly every pharmacist has at least a few patients on one of these therapies, and the care provided to them is segmented. Based on pharmaceutical industry pipeline information, the list of therapies that will fall into this category will continue to expand and for disease states that are quite common. RxA created BioNavigate as a mechanism to educate pharmacists on this topic, provide tools so that they can care for their own patients, and potentially form partnerships that will allow pharmacists to take over the roles that PSPs have historically played. BioNavigate is one example of how RxA is taking action to prepare for the future, but the pharmacy landscape is quickly evolving with many driving factors.

Pharmacists in Alberta are diverse both personally and professionally. It does not matter rural vs urban, locally vs. internationally trained, hospital vs community; what unites us all is that we are pharmacists with a common goal and purpose. I hope throughout my term I can help to spread this message and that pharmacists from across the province can unite alongside RxA. RxA has developed and earned relationships with provincial leadership so that RxA leadership can be present and have a voice guiding meaningful change. The voice that comes forward must be that of a unified profession.  

Meet Brittany Zlemer

After graduating from the University of Alberta in 2005, Brittany continued developing her skill set by obtaining her injection certification, APA and Certificate in Travel Health. She worked as a relief pharmacist, staff pharmacist, manager and is now a District Manager for Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo Pharmacies. Although she is no longer on the frontlines, Brittany continues to advocate for the profession through Sobeys National Pharmacy Advocacy Council and in RxA’s leadership cohort. She encourages and supports her teams to provide patient-centered care by using their full scope of practice.

What do I wish that people knew about RxA?

I wish that people knew all of the value that RxA brings to the table. They have been instrumental in negotiating the most robust reimbursement model for pharmacists in the country and that those negotiations didn’t come easy. With an expanded scope but no reimbursement for those services, the profession would not be sustainable. Membership is key to helping all pharmacists have a unified voice when we are at the table with government, and all pharmacists need to be engaged in advocacy efforts to further strengthen our position.

The greatest advice that anyone has given me related to pharmacy is

To not take things personally. To understand that many patients that lash out may be going through something that we are unaware of and to be patient, kind and listen.

You might be surprised to know that

I am a curler and was honoured to represent Alberta at the Everest Canadian Curling Club Championships last November.

Meet Randy Howden

As a pharmacist, what sorts of trends do you see?

I remember in university we were talking about patient care and care plans. When I graduated, we weren’t able (yet) to prescribe, adapt, renew, or inject medications. With our advanced scope of practice in Alberta, we have the privilege to support patients in all these areas.

I see pharmacists becoming an even more integral part of primary care and chronic disease management teams. I believe that in working collaboratively with physicians and other team members, we as a profession can help alleviate the primary care shortage now and in the future.

The greatest advice anyone has given me related to pharmacy is…

To find an area of practice you are passionate about helping people and pursue it. We can only learn so much from books and studying. At some point we need to learn by practicing and providing the service.

Don’t be afraid to start something new.

(I really like quotes. I collect them and share them. There are so many quotes from so many wise people)

My favourite quote is…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou