College of Pharmacy celebrates past, present and future
On November 19, more than 100 alumni, donors, students and friends of the University of Manitoba gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Apotex Centre and launch of its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program.
“It’s a day to celebrate our past, our present and our future,” said Dr. Lalitha Raman-Wilms, dean of the College of Pharmacy, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.
The college itself dates back to 1899, when the first classes were held nearby at 422 Notre Dame Avenue. Following moves to the Broadway and Fort Garry campuses, it arrived at its current home in 2008 at the state-of-the-art Apotex Centre.
“This incredible, architecturally-stunning building we’re standing in was made possible through the generosity of the provincial government, and a number of corporate and private donors,” said Raman-Wilms, emphasizing the hard work and contributions of the many individuals who came together, including dedicated alumni, to raise funds for the $32-million facility. “Each and every donation made it happen.”
Honourable Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors & Active Living, brought greetings from the Manitoba government that echoed Raman-Wilms’ emphasis on teamwork. “Partnerships we form among medical professionals are essential,” said Friesen. “Health care is expensive and our population is aging – the price is only going to go up.”
By creating efficiencies among the professionals that provide care, Friesen said he was “bullish” about the future health of our province.
Raymond Shelley, senior vice-president, commercial operations, brought greetings from Apotex, a major contributor to the building campaign. “Over 40 years ago, our founder Dr. Barry Sherman started Apotex with a vision of providing affordable health care to Canadians. He recognized very early that a key partner in helping him achieve his vision would be pharmacists, given the trust that their patients place in them,” said Shelley.
“Standing here representing Apotex as a donor 10 years later, as you launch your PharmD program, I can see that we made a great investment and I’m proud Apotex was part of your success.”
John Kearsey, Vice-President (External), University of Manitoba and MC, congratulated the College of Pharmacy and lauded the vision of U of M donors to Apotex for “creating opportunities for students to excel, for groundbreaking research … and positioning the university as a leading post-secondary institution.”
The vision led to the coming together of the health sciences. “This building made it possible for pharmacy students to work more closely with students from the other health professions – dentistry, medicine and rehabilitation sciences – located on the Bannatyne campus,” said Dr. Brian Postl, Dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences & Vice-Provost (Health Sciences). “The learning environment makes an incredible difference to the success of students and capacity to enhance programs.”
Mariam Guindi, Junior Stick, College of Pharmacy Class of 2020, agreed. “With our state-of-the-art labs, we are able to facilitate small-group clinical exercises in which we are able to learn through both professors as well as peers,” said Guindi. “With our theatres and classrooms we are able to simulate patient-based interactions that allow us to get the most accurate depiction of clinical practise. It is through this that we become the most prepared and compassionate face of pharmacy.”
With a footprint that essential doubled the college’s capacity for research and education, the impact of moving to the new site is already in evidence. “The increased number of bench spaces for students in the Apotex centre addressed the critical shortage of pharmacists across Canada and now, 10 years later, made it possible to introduce the new PharmD program,” said Postl.
PharmD, which had its first intake this fall, offers an advanced curriculum with significantly more experiential learning and clinical training. “As we strive to provide the highest level of pharmacy education in Canada, the PharmD will become the new entry to practise degree for pharmacists in this province,” said Raman-Wilms, adding the new curriculum addresses evolving needs of patients, health-care systems and the profession.
“Our graduates will be better prepared to meet the needs of an aging population who use more medications. And will also be practise-ready to work in collaborative health-care teams to better manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease and conditions related to mental health,” said Raman Wilms.
Speaking on behalf of the student body, Guindi shared the optimism of Minister Friesen and others. “To me, receiving my education here [at the U of M] at Apotex means unrestricted opportunities, it means advanced learning facilities, it means that I will feel beyond prepared to face the real world.”
Click to view the video that commemorates this special occasion.