New MSc graduates credit U of T for research and clinical career preparation

From left: Clara Korenvain, Lauren Cadel

Two recent graduates from U of T’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy’s Master’s in Pharmaceutical Science (MSc) program are already contributing to research and clinical care, in large part due to their learning opportunities made available through the program.

Networking and mentorship opportunities benefit new graduate

Lauren Cadel, from Newmarket, Ontario, completed her thesis research related to medication management in adults with spinal cord injuries, supervised by assistant professor Sara Guilcher.

The Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate from the Clinical, Social and Administrative Pharmacy stream interviewed adults with spinal cord injuries to understand their thoughts and experiences relating to medications, with the goal of improving their medication management. The research has recently been submitted for publication.

While pursuing her degree, Cadel collaborated with teams in different faculties on a variety of projects, attended conferences and networked with colleagues, all of which helped her education and career. She has even been first author on more than one published paper. “My supervisor was instrumental in giving me those opportunities,” she says. “The U of T also really helps with mentoring opportunities and allowing students to succeed.”

Starting in July, Cadel will be working as a research coordinator with Guilcher and Kerry Kuluski, assistant professor at U of T’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, focusing on a project related to identifying best practices for reducing alternate level of care (delayed discharge). In the long-term, she plans to continue in the same field of research by pursuing a PhD and eventually developing her own research program. “All of the opportunities that I have had and the mentors I have had have helped me to grow both as a person and a researcher,” she says.

New graduate applies thesis research to primary care practices

Clara Korenvain, from Toronto, agrees that the Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences helped her to grow personally and professionally. “The program threw many challenges my way,” she says. “Through working with my supervisors and learning to overcome those challenges, I learned how to thrive in the real world.”

Korenvain completed a combined Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPhm) and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at U of T in 2015. She then started a combined hospital residency and master’s program with a one-year clinical placement based primarily at Women’s College Hospital, followed by her thesis research. Supervised by clinician-scientist and assistant professor Lisa McCarthy and professor emeritus Linda MacKeigan, Korenvain’s research focused on community pharmacists’ experiences with helping patients to stop taking medications, known as deprescribing, as a way to enhance community pharmacy practice.

During her MSc, Korenvain had the opportunity to attend conferences and present research. In particular, her poster at the 2016 North American Primary Care Research Group conference was selected to be part of a themed poster walk, bringing more attention to the research.

“I am passionate about deprescribing, and I work to apply desprescribing in my own practice,” she says. She currently works in London, Ontario, where she is building a new pharmacy practice in glomerular disease care at London Health Sciences Centre and working with two rural family health teams close to the city.

On top of building her practice, she hopes to stay involved in research and education initiatives that benefit the field. “I’m passionate about moving the pharmacy profession forward,” she says. “I hope to be a part of that on both a personal and academic level, and perhaps even be involved in pharmacist education.”