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PHSA+ Award winner profile: Linda Hamata

Linda Hamata, drug distribution coordinator, manages the daily operations of the pharmacy department at the Vancouver centre and ensures that patients have timely access to medications to receive the best care.
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​​L to R: Dennis Jang, pharmacy professional practice leader; Linda Hamata, drug distribution coordinator; Shirin Abadi, pharmacy clinical and education coordinator; Shaina Adatia, clinical pharmacist.

The PHSA+ Awards celebrate individuals and teams across our organization that demonstrate excellence and advance our organization by living the PHSA values. These awards showcase and recognize the passion, hard work and dedication of our staff and promote our ongoing commitment to support employee engagement.  

Today we are profiling Linda Hamata.

Linda Hamata is always the first one you will find at work – rain or shine – to take care of all matters at BC Cancer’s pharmacy department in Vancouver. As a drug distribution coordinator, Linda manages the daily operations of the pharmacy department at the Vancouver centre and ensures that patients have timely access to medications to receive the best care. 

Linda has done an outstanding job managing the operations of the pharmacy department, while demonstrating immense respect and kindness towards others, even under the most stressful circumstances. She provides guidance to her colleagues about protocols so that patient care is delivered effectively and efficiently. Her hands-on approach, proactive nature, and ability to lead by example have made her a bright star within and outside the pharmacy department. 

Known for her knowledge and focus on person-centred care, Linda has gone above and beyond in developing drug protocols, pre-printed orders and patient information for new drugs. Often putting in extra hours, Linda works diligently behind the scenes to help numerous patients obtain medications to support their cancer treatment. 

Learn more about Linda Hamata by watching the video and reading the Q&A below.

Congratulations on your PHSA+ Award! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at BC Cancer - Vancouver? 
I am currently the drug distribution coordinator at the Vancouver centre. Previously I was the drug access navigator (DAN) pharmacist, where I assisted with accessing medications for patients not funded by BC Cancer. My current role as a drug distribution coordinator involves managing pharmacy staff, operations, medications, financial reports, clinician orientations and patient issues.

How did you feel when it was announced that you are a PHSA+ Award winner? 
Surprised and happy. I was surprised because PHSA is a big place. I feel humbled to have received this award and happy because the BC Cancer pharmacy department was being recognized. 

What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile? 
Successfully accessing a drug for a patient is the most rewarding part of my job.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 
Every day is exciting and on most days I can’t wait to get to work to take up where I had left off the day before. From managing pharmacy operations to handling patient issues, it’s always different every day. It’s a huge learning curve and I am very lucky to have professional practice leader Dennis Jang teach me about the job. Dennis was previously a drug distribution coordinator for many years and is widely acknowledged for knowing everything. I am enjoying my new role. It’s all the new things and daily challenges that get me out of bed in the morning. 

What is your proudest moment at PHSA? 
Having opportunities to be a myeloma tumour group pharmacist and then a few years later as a lymphoma tumour group pharmacist have been my proudest moments at PHSA. It was a rewarding experience to work with Dr. Kevin Song as a myeloma tumour group pharmacist. I helped create BC Cancer’s myeloma protocols and pre-printed orders. These documents are now used across B.C. to treat patients with myeloma. I started this work in 2009. I was also given the opportunity to work with Dr. Laurie Sehn and the lymphoma tumour group to become a lymphoma/myeloma tumour group pharmacist. I felt it was an honour to work in this role. I have now handed this work over to clinical pharmacist Louisa Pang and I know she will do an outstanding job.   

Why did you choose to work at PHSA? 
A friend told me about a job posting in the Vancouver Sun  for a casual pharmacist position at the BC Cancer Agency (now BC Cancer) in 1985. My son was almost one year old at that time and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get back into hospital pharmacy practice.  

How has working at PHSA helped you develop professionally? Personally? 
I’ve been so lucky in my career at BC Cancer. My supervisors have provided many opportunities to take on different projects and initiatives. These opportunities fostered my growth, insight and confidence both on a professional and personal level.  

Tell us something that we may not realize about your job - a little known fact, something unexpected. 
The DAN pharmacist can help to initiate patient access to a medication not marketed in Canada. This is done by contacting the drug manufacturer, who could be located anywhere in the world, and finding a contact within the company who will work with the Health Canada Special Access Programme (SAP) to add this drug to the SAP drug formulary. 

How do the PHSA values show up in your work? 
Patients first – they’re why we’re all here.

PHSA Leaders Forum 2019-51.jpgNicholas Schnee, Executive Director of BC Cancer, presenting award to Linda at the Leaders' Forum. 

Join us in congratulating Linda on her PHSA+ Award! Thank you for consistently going above and beyond for our patients and our workplace. 

BC Cancer
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