Polypharmacy is a prime example of why ‘more is not always better'

Dr. Lalitha Raman-Wilms was recently profiled as a Choosing Wisely Champion on the Choosing Wisely Manitoba website, an organization whose goal is to advance a national dialogue on avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures. The article emphasizes the issue of polypharmacy and the benefits of deprescribing. To read the full article, click on the link below.

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New director of experiential education

Ron Eros has joined the College of Pharmacy as director of experiential education, effective April 30, 2019.  

Ron brings 30 years of pharmacy practice experience to his new role. In addition to his significant contributions in hospital pharmacy, he has also worked in community pharmacy practice and held leadership positions within the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM) and the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC).

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Pharmacy a family affair

Dr. Hagar Labouta jokes that the pharmacy field is in her genes. Her father is a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, and her mother is a chemist.

“Maybe this triggered me,” the new assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy said. It was in her first year of university in her hometown of Alexandria, Egypt, that Labouta realized she was destined to follow in her parents’ scientific footsteps. And she hasn’t looked back since.

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Wise medication use conference

Faculty members Dr. Lalitha Raman-Wilms, Dr. Jamie Falk and Dr. Christine Leong presented at a provincial workshop on Wise Medication Use for Older Adults in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 9, 2019. The event was organized through a partnership of the Canadian Deprescribing Network, the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres and the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety. The purpose of the workshop was to equip participants with knowledge and tools to promote safe medication use for older adults.

Thank you to the following students who helped out at the Wise Medication Use Conference which took place April 9, 2019 at Family Medical Centre:

• Third year pharmacy students Katherine Mayba and Rachael McLeod

• Fourth year pharmacy students  Sydney Warkentin and Steve Romaniuk


Pregnant pause: Is that drug safe for baby?

Most first-time mothers have a lot of questions about their pregnancies.

When it comes to things like diet and exercise, the answers are straightforward.

But when it comes to questions about whether it’s okay to keep taking a medication they’ve been on, that’s when Dr. Sherif Eltonsy says responses can get a little fuzzy.

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Deconstructing diabetes

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation in countries around the world.

“It’s very serious and it’s growing fast,” said Dr. Lucy Marzban, a researcher and associate professor in the College of Pharmacy at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

So far there’s no cure for diabetes, only management. That means patients have to keep a close eye on insulin levels, follow a strict diet and get plenty of exercise. It’s not easy.

Marzban has been taking a close look at the mechanisms of diabetes, right down to the cellular level of the pancreas and its insulin-producing beta cells.

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National research team targets glioblastoma

The research involves a diverse team of investigators from the U of M—Donald Miller, Thomas Klonisch (human anatomy & cell science), Ted Lakowski (pharmacy), Marshall Pitz (Research Institute of Oncology and Hematology a joint institute with CancerCare Manitoba), as well as David Wishart from The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (Alberta) in partnership with BioMark Diagnostics (British Columbia).

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Ron Eros has joined the college as director of experiential education.

Natalie Scofield-Singh is the new research and graduate program coordinator.

Carlos Cruz is the new lead laboratory technician.

Welcome back

The College of Pharmacy team welcomes back Angela Shank, administrative services manager.


Dr. Geoff Tranmer has been granted tenure and promoted to associate professor.

Dr. Sheila Ng and Dr. Drena Dunford were promoted to instructor II.

Instructor Dennis Cote and professor emeritus Colin Briggs received Golden Anniversary certificates and pins in recognition of 50 years of continuous membership with the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba. A ceremony was held May 4, 2019 at their Annual Grand Meeting.

Role changes

Nicole Riches is now the college’s project coordinator.

Karen Martindale is now executive assistant to the dean.


First year service learning

This year, first-year pharmacy students Marianna Pozdirca, Heather Smeltzer, Christine Vaccaro and Sabina Ozog researched and surveyed mentorship programs in Canada and the United States with the focus on developing a program in Manitoba.

The project, titled “Meaningful mentorship: A collection of lessons crucial to building a student-pharmacists mentorship program in Manitoba,” was a collaboration with Pharmacists Manitoba over a four-month service learning rotation. The students presented their poster on the project at the 2019 Pharmacists Manitoba Conference April 13 and 14, 2019.


Community presentation and A1c clinic

Fourth-year students Deepak Samra and Mackenzie Murray recently took part in a visit to Pinaymootang First Nation with preceptor pharmacist Dan Kryzyk from LifeSmart Pharmacy.

The group had three presentations, the first two in the morning with students from Grades 7-9. The final presentation was with community members learning about issues surrounding prescription drug abuse.

At the A1c clinic, they tested A1c, SCr, blood pressure and did a medication review with the patients. In total, they saw 9 patients. The students then prepared DAPs, which were sent to Dr. Le to follow up with the patients in the clinic.


Professional Development Week (PDW) 2019

The University of Manitoba won the following awards at PDW this year in St. John’s, Newfoundland:

Award of Professionalism, 2nd Place - for the organization of Pharmacist Awareness Month 2018 - PAM coordinator: Lani Kotyrba

Compounding Competition, 3rd Place - Team: Jonathan Chingcuangco, Diana Hanna, Gabriel Luo and Anna Van Dekerkhove

OTC Competition, 4th Place - Paige Laufer

Guy Genest Passion for Pharmacy Award - Jenna Villarba

Pictured here, left to right: Gabriel Luo, Diana Hanna, Anna Van Dekerkhove, Paige Laufer and Jonathan Chingcuangco


Students in the community

Fourth-year students Karyn Wiebe and Matthieu Boulet were lauded by Our Own Health Centre for their many hours of service at their "It’s A Wonderful Night” Christmas Fundraiser 2018. 

They both assisted in multiple capacities and were willing to do what it took to make the event a success. With their help, the fundraiser raised $24,000 which will go towards programming and services for the LGBTTQ* clients at Our Own Health Centre.



Throughout the year, graduate students have received numerous awards and honours. Congratulations to all the recipients for their hard work!

Wajd Alkabbani
Advisor: Christine Leong

• 2019 AFPC / Council for Continuing Pharmaceutical Education Graduate Pharmacy Student Research Poster Award

Jaden Brandt
Advisor: Christine Leong

• Dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Student Achievement Prize

Amani Hamad
Advisor: I Fan Kuo, Silvia Alessi-Severini

• 2019 AFPC / Council for Continuing Pharmaceutical Education Graduate Student Research Award

Donica Janzen
Advisor: Silvia Alessi-Severini

• Feature in the Canadian Association for Population Therapeutics (CAPT) e-bulletin

Courtney Lawrence
Advisor: Sheryl Zelenitsky

• 2019 AFPC / Merck Canada Ltd Postgraduate Pharmacy Fellowship Award

• $15,000 during a one year period

• Presentation of her award-winning work at the 2019 AFPC Annual Canadian Pharmacy Education and Research Conference.

Danielle Lee
Advisor: Hope Anderson

• Dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Student Achievement Prize

George Okoli
Advisors: Salah Mahmud, Silvia Alessi-Severini

• Received the Manitoba Training Program Fellowship in Health Services Research

• Travel Grant from CADTH to attend the CADTH symposium

George Okoli, Donica Janzen and Kevin Friesen
Advisor: Salah Mahmud, Silvia Alessi-Severini, Jamie Falk, Shawn Bugden

• Tier 1 award for their student recruitment campaign from the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes research


Biomedical Youth Program Summer Camp

July 15 - 19, 2019

This summer camp is an outreach initiative of the Biomedical Youth Program (BYP) held annually at the University of Manitoba's Bannatyne campus.

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Canadian Pharmacy Education and Research Conference

June 11 - 14, 2019

The Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) will be holding its annual Canadian Pharmacy Education and Research Conference (CPERC) in Edmonton this June.

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