Startup Stories: Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada

New associations launch to fill a void in their sector. Here, the Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada tells us what got them started, how they’re succeeding, and what they plan to do next.

Starting point. The Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada is an Indigenous-led association recently launched to connect and support Indigenous pharmacy professionals and help all pharmacists provide better care to Indigenous Peoples.

First announced at the Canadian Pharmacy Conference in June, IPPC will help build a foundation for anti-racism, anti-oppression, and cultural safety in the delivery of pharmacy care to and by Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

“Recognizing that pharmacy professionals are among the most accessible healthcare professionals and knowing that the greatest gaps in health outcomes experienced by people in Canada are between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples, we are well-positioned to lead the way in identifying and addressing the historical and ongoing policies, practices, and racism that are at play in creating and re-creating these gaps,” said Dr. Swidrovich in a press release.

Early work. IPPC plans to offer mentorship and support to Indigenous pharmacy professionals, develop education and resources for non-Indigenous pharmacy professionals, and create standards for building safe spaces for both Indigenous pharmacy professionals and patients.

“Safe spaces are a foundation for the healing of Indigenous communities and healthcare has faltered in creating safe spaces for its professionals, especially within the growing health crises like addictions, mental health, HIV, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lamb. “Like our communities, Indigenous pharmacy professionals experience health disparities, discrimination, and racism.”

Next steps. In addition to improving the pharmacy care delivered to Indigenous patients, IPPC wants Indigenous Peoples across Canada to see themselves reflected in the profession and feel a sense of belonging throughout their educational and career journeys. To do that, IPPC will support efforts to recruit and retain Indigenous pharmacy professionals, including scholarship programs, training, and mentorship.

As part of this, IPPC is working on launching the inaugural Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada Scholarship during the 2022-23 school year to encourage and support Indigenous youth in pursuing a role in pharmacy. 

(Lyndon Stratford/iStock/Getty Images)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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