Dr. David Edwards, Director of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo, was appointed president of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy this year after joining the organization in 2013. Below he shares his thoughts on why the Foundation works and what is needed to make it even better.
Why is it important for you to be part of CFP? This is one of the very few organizations in Canada that is in a position to support pharmacy practice research across the country. It’s so exciting to be given the opportunity to participate in this type of work as I think it is very important to the continued evolution of pharmacy practice.
Why do you think pharmacy research is so important? With the expansion of pharmacy services, third-party payers and government want to know they’re getting value for what they’re providing, and that means research. Unfortunately, there aren’t many places researchers can go to in Canada to get funding.
What is CFP doing in this regard? In my mind, CFP has taken a very bold step in agreeing to provide $100,000 for pharmacy practice research this year. Historically we have committed $50,000 and last year we gave more than $70,000, thanks to a lot of support within the pharmacy community. This sends a strong message that we are serious about supporting this type of research that is so vital to pharmacy’s future.
Are you getting a significant number of proposals coming in? We’ve seen a tremendous increase in both the number and quality of proposals coming in. Last year we received 26, and while we don’t go into our assessment with a set number of projects we’ll fund every year, we felt three were important enough to support because they would all make a significant contribution in documenting the value of pharmacy services.
What are your goals for 2016? We’ve come a long way in increasing our visibility with our many awards, grants and the launch of the pharmacy textbook. Now we want to encourage a greater number of individual pharmacists to contribute to CFP at a grass-roots level. I believe the work of the Foundation is important to all practising pharmacists. I also think the CFP board can play a leadership role in encouraging this type of funding through their own contacts.
You’ve spent significant part of your career working in the U.S. How does pharmacy practice compare this side of the border? I’ve been invited to give presentations at a number of national conferences in the US about the scope of practice in Canada. The general reaction is that they are very jealous about what pharmacists can do here. I think our scope could be broader and pharmacists need to play a bigger role as decision-makers when it comes to drug therapy. But compared to the U.S., we doing very well.
That comes back to providing evidence that pharmacists are valuable doesn’t it? Absolutely. We are happy to be getting high-quality research proposals from across the country and certainly hope that will continue.