Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

Pharmacy Check-in: Meet Yazid Al Hamarneh


Yazid Al Hamarneh

Yazid N Al Hamarneh, BSc (Pharm), PhD, CDM, CAC (he, him)
Assistant Professor/Scientific Officer/Associate Director
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta/Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit/ EPICORE Centre
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Yazid Nabih Al Hamarneh is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, the Scientific Officer of the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit and the Associate Director of the EPICORE Centre. He obtained his BSc in pharmacy from the University of Jordan and his PhD from Queen’s University Belfast. His main research interests are chronic disease prevention and management, with special interest in cardiovascular disease and pharmacy practice. This research involves focusing on prevention, increasing awareness, enhancing control and management of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, as well as making the paradigm shift in pharmacy practice to focus on patient-centered care. He is an avid sports fan, particularly football (soccer), and is reported to scream at the TV when watching the games.

Q&A with Yazid

We caught up with Yazid Al Hamarneh to talk about his career and the importance of pharmacy practice research.

What is the most rewarding element of your pharmacy practice? 

There are so many rewarding elements of my practice but if I must choose one it would be when the research that we do changes policy, impacts practice and enhances patient care.

What specific clinical practice areas or advocacy issues are of interest to you and why? 

Pharmacists practicing to their full scope. Pharmacists are front-line primary health-care providers who practice in the heart of the communities where people live and work. They see patients more frequently than any other health-care provider and when it comes to full scope of practice they are one of the few health-care providers whose interventions are supported by the highest level of evidence from the literature, backed by an extremely high level of patient satisfaction and associated with billions of dollars in savings for the over-stretched health-care system. If a new medication was associated with all of these great characteristics everyone would be prescribing it!

What is one practice area where you feel pharmacists could increase their role that would lead to better patient outcomes?  

Cardiovascular risk assessment. Cardiovascular risk assessment allows patients to better understand their individual risk factors, the degree of risk associated with each of the factors and the impact of controlling those factors on their overall cardiovascular risk. It also can be helpful in encouraging medication adherence and lifestyle adjustment.

What is one thing you wish all patients knew about what pharmacists can do? 

Pharmacists have knowledge, abilities and expertise that go beyond medications. If a patient has high blood pressure, for example, pharmacists can measure their blood pressure, assess its control, discuss the factors that can cause/increase blood pressure, teach the most appropriate technique of measuring blood pressure at home, assist in choosing a blood pressure machine and the most suitable cuff, educate patients about their blood pressure targets and how to achieve them, discuss social history and lifestyle adjustments (diet, exercise, stress, caffeine, alcohol), and in certain provinces they can adapt and prescribe medications and order lab tests. I could go on but will stop here!

What makes you proud to be a pharmacist? 

Everything that we do, but most recently seeing the way pharmacists responded to the pandemic. Despite the uncertainty, the massive pressure, the risks to their own health and the constant need to adapt, pharmacists around the world continued to put the patient first, providing them with highest-quality services and making sure that all their needs were met. Pharmacists are definitely the unsung heroes of the pandemic.

Why is pharmacy practice research important?

Pharmacy practice research provides the evidence of what pharmacists are capable of. This evidence is then used to inform policies that can expand pharmacists’ scope of practice and can lead to increased funding for those services as well.

Why should front-line pharmacists care about pharmacy practice research?

Pharmacy practice research is a major vehicle for moving pharmacy practice forward. As such, front-line pharmacists have a great opportunity to impact the way they and the future generations practice pharmacy. When they conduct and get involved in pharmacy practice research, they will be in a prime position to shape the future of pharmacy in the way they want to see it.

Can you share any real-world examples of when research you were involved with had an impact on patient care and/or pharmacy practice?

The findings of one of our studies helped in getting certain medications into the formulary. The data from another study was used to support keeping certain pharmacy services.

How can pharmacists and pharmacy students get involved in research?

If you have an idea and you want to conduct your research, get in touch with your local pharmacy practice researchers and discuss your ideas with them—they are usually very welcoming and more than willing to collaborate. If you want to be involved in the ongoing research, keep a close eye on CPhA’s and the local pharmacy associations' and colleges’ websites and social media channels, sign up for newsletters or reach out to your local researchers. You can always reach out to me!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your practice or about anything else that is important to you?

As pharmacists we need to stop being shy, avoid saying things like “I’m just a pharmacist” and all the other demeaning terms that some of us use without thinking. During the pandemic we showed the world what we are made of and what we can do. When all the other health-care providers went virtual, pharmacists kept their doors open and continued to provide the highest level of care to the patients. This is the time to tell our story the way we want it to be told and to continue to advocate for all pharmacists with pride and passion.