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2011 Future of Pharmacy Award: Brett Baumback

Brett BaumbackBrett Baumback
Pharmacist, Rexall Myros Pharmacy
Edmonton

“It’s important to see where people are coming from – to treat the whole person and not just the illness.” While true for any health professional, this statement takes on extra meaning for Brett’s patients. Brett works at Rexall Myros in Edmonton’s inner city. In addition to medical challenges, many of his patients must also deal with homelessness, poverty, and mental health issues.

In Brett, his patients have found a skilled professional and passionate advocate. “These patients have really opened my eyes to the social issues affecting health and wellness and the difficulties people have to overcome. I’ve learned a lot from them. It’s really easy to pigeonhole people in certain situations, but you have to treat everyone as an individual. I try to uncover the whole picture and history, not just where they are now.”

Brett chose pharmacy to feed his interest in helping people, direct patient contact, and community building. He began his practice in a well-to-do West End neighbourhood, but felt the pull to do and learn more.

“As a student, I didn’t really know what opportunities were out there. I think it’s important to look for opportunities. It’s too easy to become complacent. Working here has opened my eyes to what pharmacists can really do. We can be someone patients can turn to and trust. These patients don’t have a lot of constants in their lives,
so it’s good to be one.”

Brett sees the inner city as the model for what healthcare should be in Alberta. “There are so many types of professionals working together, and all of them are passionate about their patients. There is no stigma around titles; everything is very patient-centered, and communication between professionals is great. All of this adds up to
very good continuity of care.”

In addition to the health professionals Brett collaborates with through the pharmacy, he works alongside a nurse practitioner one day each week at a men’s housing facility.

“There are so many good practitioners, you can really learn a lot. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by supportive people and have learned not to be afraid to reach out. Good pharmacists need to learn from one another. Don’t be afraid to not know, but don’t be satisfied with not knowing either.”

What does Brett’s future hold? “I still see myself in this community, but want to do more. More community involvement, maybe as a volunteer. More learning – I’m exploring a designation in mental health, and I want to learn more about addiction. I’m always looking for more ways to synthesize theory and application. I’m also excited about new opportunities like prescribing and more interdisciplinary work.”

Whatever is next, it is clear that Brett’s passion and commitment will improve patient care and be a model for those around him.