Pharmacy Check-in: Meet Roger Tam
Roger Tam, BSc. Pharm. CDE CTE PM2 (he/him)
Pharmacist, Certified Diabetes and Tobacco Educator
Our Own Health Centre
Roger Tam is a pharmacist with 25 years of experience working in the field of 2SLGBTTQ health. As a graduate from the University of Manitoba he presently works at Our Own Health Centre a non-profit medical centre that provides services to the 2SLGBTTQ community in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His role at the centre is to provide expertise in tobacco reduction, addictions counselling and diabetes care.
Q&A with Roger
What is the #1 thing pharmacists can do to create a safe and inclusive space for members of the LGBT2SQ+ community?
The #1 thing that pharmacists can do to create a safe and inclusive space for members of the 2SLGBTTQ+ community is to ask the patient's preferred pronouns, staff identifying his/she/they pronouns and having pride symbols throughout the pharmacy such as a rainbow flag sticker on the front door.
Why is inclusive health care important, especially in a pharmacy setting?
Since pharmacists are the most accessible and frontline health-care providers, having an inclusive space gives patients a sense of safety. It provides an atmosphere for patients to share concerns that he/she/they may not be comfortable discussing with family, friends or other healthcare providers.
How can pharmacists play a greater role as advocates for inclusive health care, especially for the LGBT2SQ+ community?
Pharmacists can play a greater role as advocates by including the 2SLGBTTQ+ community in the discussion of what is most needed by the community. Having this information can provide the information to solicit government for change. An example is free PrEP accessibility.
What’s the biggest mistake health-care providers make in caring for LGBT2SQ+ patients and how can they do better?
One of the biggest mistakes health-care providers make when caring for the 2SLGBTTQ+ community is "making assumptions." Assumptions in sexual practices, sexual identity, gender expression, etc.