In support of building the role and emphasis of pharmacists in Ontario, the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy recently received a gift of $600,000 in early February. The money is to fund a professorship that promotes innovation and research initiatives in pharmacy.
The gift was given to the school to establish the Ontario College of Pharmacists Professorship in Pharmacy Innovation by the regulating body for pharmacists in Ontario, which is the Ontario College of Pharmacy (OCP).
The position will be held by Professor Nancy M. Waite, who is currently also the associate director of practice-based education at the school. She has held that position since Feb. 2007.
The areas of research that she will be pursuing will be examining how the teaching approaches currently used in the curriculum better prepare graduates for existing and new roles pharmacists are taking within the healthcare system, as well as exploring unique pharmacist interventions that will improve how patients manage their medications and decrease negative health outcomes.
“The School of Pharmacy at University of Waterloo and the Ontario College of Pharmacists share a common vision for pharmacy practice in Ontario, said David J. Edwards, the Hallman Director of the School of Pharmacy. “This vision includes an expanded scope of practice with the pharmacist fulfilling a valuable role as medication therapy expert in the Ontario health care system. The OCP Professorship will be instrumental in helping us to achieve this vision.”
Pharmacists’ roles in Ontario have been changing over time, and expanding their scope of practice. A part of the professorship, research will be done by Waite into how pharmacists can make sure that patients get the most benefits, and the fewest problems from their medications.
“We also are supporting our licensing body (the Ontario College of Pharmacists, who sponsored this professorship) as they work with the Ministry of Health to develop the legislation and regulations to support these practice changes,” Prof. Nancy Waite said. “We also partner with practicing pharmacists, health care sites and professional organizations, to conduct research on how these changes impact patient care.”
Waite helped create the curriculum for the undergraduate program for the School of Pharmacy when it was in the early stages of development. Before coming to Waterloo, Waite was an associate professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, as well as the manager of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Albany College of Pharmacy.