Community health: Training Canada’s future pharmacists
In 2010, Walmart Canada donated $1 million to the University of Toronto to create the Walmart Canada International Pharmacy Education Centre. We hope the impact of this investment will be felt in communities across the country where IPG graduates may settle to practice patient care.
On the strength of this donation, the U of T pharmacy school can now train 30 per cent more students through the program. For Walmart, we know that supporting such professional development opportunities has the potential to not only help individual students, but to help local communities in need of healthcare professionals across Canada.
One year later, we can report success stories like Rowena Calica, an International Pharmacy Graduate who chose to make her final community practice site at our Walmart Pharmacy in Fort Frances, Ontario –1,700 km northwest of Toronto with a population of 7,900. This kind of outcome means an excellent prognosis for our growing association with the U of T pharmacy school.
Higher learning: the Walmart Pharmacy Student Program
In summer 2011, we also provided students with a unique opportunity to experience the corporate world through the Walmart Pharmacy Student Program at our Home Office in Mississauga. The students joined a small in-house team dedicated to making positive changes in the profession as well as gaining valuable real world experience by working in a community pharmacy for one to two days a week.
Under the guidance of coaches on the Professional Services Team, the students initiated and piloted patient care projects in the community involving relevant healthcare issues like sun care and children’s health.
Two of the students, Vivithika Jeevanayagam from the University of Saskatchewan and Disha Shah, from University of Waterloo shared notes on their experience: “Working with the City of Mississauga, we delivered a presentation for parents surrounding common health concerns in children. Through this experience, we learned just how proactive parents would like to be in keeping their kids healthy.”
The purpose of the program is to help students bridge the gap between university, the retail world and Canadian communities. For Vivithika and Disha, it presented a remarkable opportunity to preview their future professional lives, “Working at Walmart Home Office has helped us to understand that pharmacists are indeed front line, easily accessible health care professionals who are not just able to go out into the community, but also affect change significantly from the grass roots level. The amount of consideration that goes behind every new decision is immense and it was an exciting time for us as pharmacy students to be at the forefront of these developments.”