SLMHC pharmacist recognized for pioneering access to new medication

Sioux Lookout – Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) ended 2018 with much reason to celebrate. In November, the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) presented SLMHC pharmacy manager Danielle Lajeunesse with the Hospital Practice in a Rural Setting Award. This peer-nominated award was the culmination of Lajeunesse’s year-long effort to pioneer Canadian access to a new medication, while at the same time taking over management of SLMHC pharmacy renovations that would conform to new national practices in sterile compounding  – changes achieved thus far by only a handful of pharmacies in the province. An impressive feat on its own, Lajeunesse simultaneously prepped her pharmacy department for three separate hospital accreditation visits, one by Accreditation Canada (AC) and two others by the Ontario College of Pharmacists, which no doubt helped SLMHC attain Accreditation with Exemplary Standing, the highest standing bestowed by AC. Add to that her continued participation in regional committees, interdisciplinary efforts, and education sessions, Lajeunesse’s extensive list of accomplishments did not go unnoticed by her colleagues.

Fellow clinical pharmacist Angela Heintzman of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre witnessed Lajeunesse’s growing list of successes and felt compelled to nominate her for the CSHP Ontario Branch Award. 

When asked why her colleague was so deserving of such recognition, Heintzman explained, “Danielle is an excellent example of how creating relationships with other health care professionals goes a long way to accomplish our health care goals.” She then elaborated on Lajeunesse’s endeavour to trail-blaze access to new medication within the country: “In collaboration with a physician and community pharmacist, Danielle successfully secured a medication that is not on the market in Canada and supplied the necessary evidence to have the medication covered by the patients’ medical plan. As a result, patients had far fewer emergency department visits and no admissions to Meno Ya Win. With her help, they’ve been able to improve their quality of life. Danielle is a credit to our profession and embodies the best of patient-focused care.”

SLMHC President & CEO Heather Lee spoke highly of the award-winning pharmacy manager and her team: “By collaborating with other health care partners and creating a plan that is both innovative and patient-centred, Danielle and her team have created an opportunity that can benefit not just our patients, but patients all over the country. This is an excellent example of the great strides our staff take to achieve our mission: to care for people while at the same time respect the different pathways to their health.”

Both Lajeunesse and Heintzman travelled to Toronto for the 2018 CSHP Ontario Branch Annual Conference where Lajeunesse was recognized, along with other prominent hospital pharmacists, for contributions in improving pharmacy services through innovations and developments in the field, original research, and scholarly papers or publications.

Lajeunesse spoke enthusiastically about the awards ceremony: “We spent an evening with an amazing group of people who have been doing so much to see the continuous progression and advancement of the pharmacy profession… all to ensure they are providing best patient care.” Lajeunesse concluded her thoughts on a well-deserved high note: “It was great to reconnect with like-minded professionals—a wonderful addition to my tenth year of practice as a licensed pharmacist.”