The U of T Colleges of Pharmacy and Public Health are engaged in promoting the role of pharmacists in the health system

The Leslie Dunn School of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, along with Shoppers Drug Mart, have announced a new collaboration to study how pharmacists can better support Canada’s overburdened health system.

The research will review and evaluate what the expanded role of pharmacists can accomplish, and how pharmacy teams can help improve access to care in communities.

Supported by a $3 million donation from Shoppers Drug Mart, the collaboration will create a powerful engine for transferring evidence and knowledge about pharmacy practice, health policy, data science, and improving patient care, said Prof. Lisa DolovicLeslie Dunn, dean of the College of Pharmacy and expert in health systems research.

Pharmacy teams reach more people per day than any other part of our health system. We are very excited about this partnership and the potential for pharmacy and public health experts to provide viable and sustainable solutions for our health system that is currently under incredible stress,” Dulovic said. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought great challenges, but it has also demonstrated the power of increased collaboration across healthcare. This donation provides the necessary resources to build on that experience and enhance the role of pharmacists to help meet the needs of patients in the community.”

The donation will support: research projects aimed at understanding the growing role of pharmacists and how a more integrated health system can connect and enhance pharmacy care; Scholarships for students in both faculties working in the areas of pharmacy, health system improvement and other related issues; and real-world testing and evaluation projects to be led in collaboration with the recently launched Discovery Pharmacy, based at the Leslie Dunn College of Pharmacy.

“To make our health systems more effective and resilient, we must enable every health professional to fully deploy their skills and expertise,” said the professor. Edalstein BrownDean of the Dallah Lana College of Public Health. “Through this exciting partnership, public health and health systems researchers will help fill critical gaps in our public health and primary care systems.”

This collaborative opportunity leverages research, innovation, and policy capabilities to address pressing public health issues and improve patient-centered community care. Promising solutions and innovations will be developed, evaluated, and shared with academic partners and the health system through formal knowledge mobilization efforts.

“Canada’s healthcare system suffers from a number of complex issues, all of which require innovation and collaboration to overcome,” said Jeff Leger, President of Shoppers Drug Mart. “We believe pharmacists can play a vital role in creating a collective solution and are delighted to be partnering with the University of Toronto as they continue their work to ensure that pharmacists of the future are equipped to meet society’s evolving healthcare needs.”

In addition to finding solutions to improve access to community-based care, a key focus of this initiative is to examine and expand the use of digital tools at the population level to help guide patients and their caregivers to identify problems before they arise, recognize opportunities to better manage chronic conditions and find evidence of How to develop new ways of delivering healthcare.

“Sustainable, integrated and technology-driven solutions in healthcare and public health are realistic and achievable,” Dulovic said. “You will support our efforts and improve the health of Canadians and the quality of our health system.”

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