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2019 Future of Pharmacy: Essi Salokangas

Essi Salokangas
Clinical pharmacist
Addiction Recovery and Community Health (ARCH) Team
Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton

The Future of Pharmacy Award is awarded to up to three pharmacists per year who have been in practice less than five years and who exhibit strong leadership skills, the initiative to become a role model, and offer extraordinary promise to the profession.

One of this year’s recipients, Essi Salokangas, is a clinical pharmacist with the Addiction Recovery and Community Health (ARCH) team of the Inner City Health and Wellness Program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. In this role, Essi demonstrates initiative, commitment to patient care, and leadership by providing evidence based and compassionate care. As the first pharmacist to join this team, Essi took on the challenge of establishing and implementing a clear vision for her role. She has contributed to numerous initiatives, including the Supervised Consumption Service and injectable opioid agonist therapy program.

“Her passion for caring for the vulnerable and the disadvantaged is without equal. Her leadership in the field of substance abuse disorders and appropriate pharmacotherapy is inspiring,” said Roberta Stasyk, Pharmacy Manager at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, who co-nominated Essi for the award. “Her sincere care and compassion for all persons, and especially for persons with substance abuse disorders, is humbling.”

“By focusing on harm reduction, inclusivity, and non-judgmental care that’s low barrier, and by focusing on kindness, we can show people who use substances that health care can be safe for them. We want to continue to challenge the existing systems and policies so that no one feels left behind,” said Essi. “When you ask people what they need, they know. I feel like I let patients ensure that they feel heard and we can work on their goals and achieve amazing and powerful things together.”