Welcome to CPO Conversations! Each month, I’ll be using this space to share my thoughts and experiences on key topics and issues facing pharmacy and health care. I invite you to join me on this journey as I increase my awareness and understanding of the lived experiences of pharmacy professionals in Canada with the goal of helping to shape the future of our profession. Let’s listen, discover and grow together.
Dr. Danielle Paes
Chief Pharmacist Officer
- On the mental health and well-being of the profession
Truth be told, of all the work that I’ve undertaken since starting as Chief Pharmacist Officer at CPhA, addressing the mental health and wellness of our pharmacy profession is the most daunting. Mental health is deeply personal, and the solutions to our individual and collective struggles in this area, both personally and professionally, will not be resolved easily. I want nothing more than for each and everyone of my colleagues to thrive and, while I don’t have all the answers, I hope to help get us closer to where we need to be.
- On humanizing health care
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great equalizer; a humbling reminder that we are all susceptible to the threats and consequences of disease. At the same time, it has also shown us the great things we can accomplish when we come together. We’ve witnessed first-hand what happens when bright minds from around the world unify to tackle a worldwide problem. We’ve seen the power of science and collaboration deliver a life-saving vaccine in record time.
- On women in pharmacy leadership
The messages I received from women around the world came as a surprise. There was one from Jordan, another from Zimbabwe and even one from the village in Goa where my grandmother was raised. Strangers from different corners of the globe taking time to express their excitement and celebrate that I had accepted the position of Chief Pharmacy Officer (CPO) at CPhA. These notes were touching and thoughtful, but they were also humbling.
- On diversity, inclusion, allyship and unlearning
Since starting my role at CPhA, I’ve had the privilege of connecting individually with pharmacists all over Canada. Each one has candidly shared their experiences with me—good, bad and sometimes quite ugly. This month I had the opportunity to meet pharmacists who represent some of the diverse backgrounds that make up our pharmacy workforce. I’ve spoken to Black pharmacists, international pharmacy graduates, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and pharmacists with disabilities. It’s been truly eye-opening in many ways.
- An open letter to the profession I love
As we round the corner of the pandemic, I can say with certainty that this has been one of the wildest rides of my life. This pandemic has been challenging in many ways, but it’s also brought with it many important lessons. It’s taught me to appreciate the small joys in life, to not take anything for granted and to make the most of the opportunities we’re given.