Susan Lessard-Friesen has made her mark on pharmacy practice in Manitoba and internationally, especially in the area of patient safety.
Lessard-Friesen retired as Registrar and CEO of the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM) at the end of September this year, after 26 years of service at the regulatory authority. She graduated in 1983 from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba.
Throughout her career, Lessard-Friesen consistently strived to bring integrity, trust and equity into pharmacy practice and has supported regulations and practice directions that have lasting effects on patient safety.
Lessard-Friesen was instrumental in the successful implementation of Safety Improvement in Quality (Safety IQ), the standardized continuous quality improvement program for community pharmacies in Manitoba. Safety IQ supports a “just and safe” culture in community pharmacies that balances professional accountability with a systems approach to incident reporting, response and prevention.
In 2014, she became the first recipient of the Patient Safety Champion Award from the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety. In 2013, she received the Patient Safety Award from the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association.
Her extensive contributions to patient safety include representation on numerous local, national and international working groups, committees and boards, including the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, the College of Pharmacy and the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety, the Interprofessional Continuing Professional Development Network for Health Professions in Manitoba and the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy.
Recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lessard-Friesen ensured the continued registration and licensure of pharmacy graduates despite many obstacles. These pharmacy professionals were able to provide safe, responsive and effective care to the public during a time of great stress on the healthcare system.
Lessard-Friesen was also a sessional instructor at the College of Pharmacy and the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, where she enjoyed serving as a mentor to students and influencing their future roles as pharmacists.