OCTOBER 2021 – The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy is pleased to announce five Innovation Fund Grant winners for 2021: Yazid Al Hamarneh, Christine Leong, Mova Leung, Paula Newman and James Yuen. This year’s recipients will receive a total of $120,000 to support their research initiatives, which explore a variety of pharmacy-related topics across the country.
Exploring COVID-19’s impact on pharmacists’ roles and identity: With his team, University of Alberta’s Associate Director and Scientific Officer Yazid Al Hamarneh will use face-to-face interviews to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on frontline pharmacists’ roles and identity.
“Exploring pharmacists’ professional roles and identity will provide valuable insight into ‘mechanisms’ of practice change and how to deploy and sustain it, as well as act as the base for curriculum evolution,” he noted in his application. “A better understanding of changes to pharmacists’ professional identity could provide insight into practice change and, ultimately, improvements to patient care.”
Training pharmacists to be mental health leaders: University of Manitoba Assistant Professor Christine Leong is leading a study to look at the value and impact of mental health first-aid training for pharmacists. Researchers will train 25 community pharmacists in mental health first aid, then assess changes in their confidence, stigma and attitudes towards providing care for patients experiencing mental health issues. The study will also capture the frequency and description of patient encounters, intervention and follow-up. “This study aims to position pharmacists to effectively provide care for individuals experiencing a mental health problem or crisis and to be recognized as leaders in this area,” noted Leong.
Finding better ways to disseminate cancer drug information: Oral cancer drugs, while growing in use, are challenging with regards to risk of inappropriate handling, drug interactions and delayed detection and management of side effects. The Chemo Pharmacy Team at North York General Hospital is creating the Community Pharmacy Engagement Initiative to enhance information transfer and knowledge dissemination to community pharmacists caring for the hospital’s cancer patients. “We hypothesize that the Community Pharmacy Engagement Initiative will improve knowledge and a community pharmacist’s confidence in addressing acute and chronic clinical issues with regards to their patients with cancer on oral anti-cancer therapy,” said Prinicipal Investigator Mova Leung, Oncology Pharmacy Practitioner at North York General Hospital.
Can pharmacists improve diabetes management in indigenous communities? Paula Newman aims to find out just how effective a pharmacist-led medication management program is in supporting diabetes patients in a remote indigenous community. The Clinical Pharmacist and Research Specialist at the Northwest Company will look at patient, prescriber and pharmacist satisfaction around the program, including the use of appropriate medication in improving health outcomes and disease prevention, as well as reduced healthcare utilization and subsequent costs. “With numerous remote communities in Canada and the prevalence of diabetes in these regions, this model is at the forefront in the evolution of enabling pharmacists to provide expertise in diabetes management and support,” she noted.
Using an app to improve heart health: With his team, Jamie Yuen, clinical pharmacist and lecturer at the University of British Columbia, is developing a pharmacist-led virtual hypertension management program centered around the use of a health-tracking mobile app for patients. The goal is to help patients achieve blood pressure (BP) targets and improve medication adherence along with their knowledge of BP management. The researchers expect this initiative will provide pharmacists with a “simple, systematic method for contributing to virtually enabled hypertension management in the community, while leveraging patient-driven technology.”