Message from Dean Lisa DOlovich
When the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy unveiled its “I’m Pharmacy” platform in December 2019, we had no idea that an unprecedented societal shift was just over the horizon.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything — from how we study and work — to how we deliver health services and connect with each other.
But what didn’t change is how the Faculty continues to move science and health.
The pandemic has shaken our collective trees and accelerated the need for innovation in education, research and community impact – in Toronto and worldwide. I am tremendously proud of and grateful for the resilience and commitment demonstrated by our students, faculty and staff. Our community has stepped up to meet the many challenges presented by COVID-19 and is helping to chart the course for what a “new normal” might look like.
The pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences virtual learning opportunities that our academic leaders co-created with students are innovations that will stay with us and carry us forward as we enhance pharmacy education and redefine pharmacy practice.
In the wake of COVID-19, the public is seeing pharmacists in a new light. While previously overlooked or “hidden in plain sight,” pharmacists across the globe are in today’s spotlight as one of the most essential and accessible health professionals. Now more than ever patients are turning to their pharmacist as a trusted, front-line care provider for advice on a wider spectrum of health and wellness concerns. We must seize this opportunity to grow our profession and amplify our impact.
Not only is our practice changing, so is our research. The Faculty is home to a strong line-up of scientists that successfully pivoted their research to support COVID-19 because their drug discovery and drug use in society work is built on a strong foundation of first principles, such as establishing mechanisms of action, safety, effectiveness and equity.
I am confident that all our pharmaceutical sciences researchers can rise to the occasion the next time everything changes. No matter the global crisis, our Faculty is well-positioned to pivot towards the next paradigm shift by building on the fundamental principle of ensuring safe medication use in populations.
While COVID-19 is a recent area of focus, our research impact reaches far beyond. In the last year, the Centre for Pharmaceutical Oncology opened its new radiopharmacology lab, led by Professor Ray Reilly, which is already home to a first-in-humans clinical trial exploring radiolabelled trastuzumab (Herceptin) for the treatment of brain metastases.
Professor Jillian Kohler, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Governance, Transparency and Accountability in the Pharmaceutical Sector, is engaged in critical global health research to support global health systems embattled by COVID-19.
Last fall we launched the Precision Medicine Initiative (PRiME), a U of T-wide effort to establish Toronto as a leading centre for precision medicine through research in drug discovery, diagnostics and disease biology.
And Professor Alison Thompson’s public health policy ethics expertise was called upon in national discussions about COVID-19 vaccine prioritization, challenges facing community and hospital pharmacies, and drug supply chain issues.
The students, faculty and staff at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy are moving the profession and the science forward in ways that nobody has ever considered before, resulting in insights, breakthroughs and advances in medications, health care and health. As we navigate the post-pandemic world, there’s no denying that it’s an exciting time to be studying, practicing and researching pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.
Together, let’s keep moving science and health – while showing the world what pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists are capable of.
Professor and Dean
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto