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Naushin Hooda: Rising to the occasion to find health care solutions

In honour of Pharmacy Appreciation Month, we’re celebrating Naushin Hooda, provincial pharmacy education and residency coordinator at BC Cancer on being recognized with a Pharmacy Practice + Business 2023 Rising Star Award.
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We are excited to congratulate Naushin Hooda, provincial pharmacy education and residency coordinator at BC Cancer, on being recognized with a Pharmacy Practice + Business 2023 Rising Star Award! The Rising Star Award celebrates a pharmacist practicing less than five years who has shown extraordinary leadership, innovation and effectiveness in their practice.

Naushin previously joined BC Cancer in 2021 as a clinical pharmacy specialist in Medication Safety and Antimicrobial Stewardship. Her diverse background and experiences have significantly influenced her approach and contributions at BC Cancer.

Get to know Naushin Hooda

Although Naushin started her pharmacy career as the world shut down in a global pandemic, that hasn't prevented her from making an indelible mark in the profession already.

After graduating with her Pharm.D. from the University of Waterloo, Naushin went on to complete an industrial pharmacy residency in infectious disease and vaccine epidemiology followed by a Master's of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Naushin began her pharmacy career working in a rural community on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. Noticing gaps in health care right off the bat, she initiated community events to educate the public on safe medication storage and disposal and worked with Cancer Care Ontario and her interprofessional team to integrate a colorectal cancer screening program for health care professionals and the public.

Naushin has also worked in oncology pharmacy at Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto, and as the critical care liaison pharmacist at Ontario's first designated COVID-19 hospital, Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital. In seeing how overtaxed the health care system was, she was inspired to develop a research project investigating pharmacists' roles in cancer screening and supportive care management, with a goal to advise policy that would expand practice scope as it relates to preventative care and screening.

"My early clinical exposure to oncology pharmacy at the Odette Cancer Centre provided invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities within the field. It was during this time that I witnessed firsthand the critical role that innovation and excellence play in pharmacy practice, especially in the context of cancer care," said Naushin. 

"I had known about the prestigious reputation of BC Cancer within the oncology community; the projects and pharmacy initiatives showcased by BC Cancer at national conferences impressed me greatly, and I knew that joining would also allow me to make meaningful advancements in cancer care and to make a difference in the lives of patients."

After moving to B.C., Naushin served as a clinical pharmacy specialist in supply chain and medication use evaluation, managing more than 300 active medication backorders affecting acute care hospitals across the province while working at Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services, before returning to BC Cancer as the provincial pharmacy education and residency coordinator.

"The transition to my current role as provincial pharmacy education and residency coordinator was motivated by a desire to make a broader impact within the field of pharmacy education and training to help shape the next generation of pharmacists," said Naushin. "I enjoy supporting and mentoring pharmacy students and residents as they begin their professional journeys – guiding them through their training experiences, helping them develop clinical skills, and nurturing their passion for pharmacy practice."

"I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Naushin at BC Cancer and she is an exceptionally talented, dedicated and caring pharmacist, who is constantly looking to improve care for our patients through training of new pharmacists, participating in innovative projects and supporting and mentoring staff," said Lynne Nakashima, senior director, Provincial Pharmacy, BC Cancer. "It is an honour to work with Naushin and I'm excited to see her career continue to progress!"

In addition to her role at BC Cancer, Naushin is a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia. She hopes her career trajectory so far inspires other new practitioners to challenge the status quo and expand their roles to affect positive change in health care.

When asked what advice she would offer new practitioners, Naushin offered some guidance: 

"Embrace the uniqueness of your strengths, skills, interests and values – and consider how these factors align with the various niches within pharmacy (including those that don't exist yet!) Take the time to explore different facets of the profession through internships, rotations and networking opportunities. Engage with mentors who can share their experiences and insights, helping you gain a deeper understanding of the diverse career paths available. Don't be afraid to be curious and walk a different path."

About the Pharmacy Practice + Business Awards

The Pharmacy Practice + Business Awards recognize Canadian pharmacy professionals in seven categories who deliver exceptional patient care via innovative and successful pharmacy practice models.

Pharmacy Appreciation Month

Pharmacy Appreciation Month is celebrated every March. At BC Cancer, this is an opportunity for us celebrate the important contributions that pharmacy professionals make to support the health, comfort and care of people living with cancer across the province.

This article has been adapted from an article published in the February Issue of Pharmacy Practice + Business.

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