Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Wellspring Award helps pave career path


AUGUST 2022 - This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Wellspring Pharmacy Leadership Awards, launched by the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy in 2012 to honour Barbara Wells, an exceptional pharmacy leader.

So far, the program has helped 37 pharmacists develop their leadership skills or achieve career milestones. Recipients have used their awards in diverse and innovative ways, and the results continue to influence the work they do today. Kelly Grindrod and Ingrid Sketris, recipients in 2014, share how their Wellspring grants helped them in their career paths.

Kelly Grindrod

The Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy participated in workshops for narrative medicine at Columbia University’s Faculty of Medicine, New York, and multi-media storytelling at the Centre for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California.

“Stories help us to navigate the challenges of the healthcare system. The focus is on relationships and making sense of our experiences,” says Grindrod. “The training was about getting healthcare providers to slow down, reflect, see what we could learn and take this insight to improve interactions with other people."

The Wellspring Award came at a pivotal time in Grindrod’s career. “I was figuring out where I fit in the world. The award let me step outside my comfort zone.” Grindrod has gone on to conduct patient-oriented research that emphasizes engaging patients, their caregivers and families as partners in the research process. She is currently working on a vaccine uptake project, working with racialized communities.

Ingrid Sketris

As an established researcher and academic, Ingrid Sketris is sought out as a mentor and a leader. To enhance her skills in these areas, the Dalhousie University pharmacy professor earned her leadership certificate from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. The first part of the program was funded by the Wellspring Award.

“In the pharmacy curriculum, there is not a lot on leadership content or theory. This certificate helped me understand leadership theory,” says Sketris. One important concept she took away from the program was “encourage the heart.”

“I always think of the fact that at the end of whatever we do, it is about making life better for patients.” 

The insights and skills Sketris acquired in order to attain the leadership certificate are inherent in her work today. “The payoffs continue,” she adds. Honoured in 2017 as a Dalhousie University Research Professor, a prestigious acknowledgement of a faculty member’s productivity and impact, Sketris says that mentoring the next generation of pharmacists and researchers in the pharmacy field and other disciplines is “the most important thing I do.”

These stories are excerpted from CFP's Changing Face of Pharmacy Spring 2022 Report. Email Paul Kidston (pkidston@cfpnet.ca) to get your copy.