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Alberta pharmacists best in the country

December 13, 2011

Congratulations to Arden Barry, Rita Lyster, and Tyler Watson. They are the recent winners of national Commitment to Care & Service Awards. It’s great to see Alberta pharmacists recognized for their good work!


What did they win for?

Alberta pharmacists best in the country

Arden Barry
Starting as a pharmacy technician in 2001, Arden Barry is now one of 144 pharmacists in Alberta with independent prescribing authority. Barry’s drive to further his knowledge and expand his practice has led to his receiving the Advanced Learning award.

Barry is currently a clinical postdoctoral fellow in cardiovascular pharmacotherapeutics in the division of cardiology at the U of A. As part of this two-year fellowship, he practises at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton, in outpatient clinics such as cardiac assessment, heart transplant and cardiovascular risk reduction, as well as in the coronary care unit.

Barry has already obtained formal training in areas such as making physical examinations, electrocardiogram interpretation and pathology—training that is outside the traditional scope of practice for pharmacists.

His depth of knowledge is a great resource to the other health professionals, and a reminder of the value pharmacists can bring to the healthcare table. Arden’s colleague, cardiologist Dr. Michelle Graham, says, “His presence on rounds has taught a new generation of physicians the importance of a multidisciplinary collaborative model for optimal patient care delivery.”

Arden was also a 2011 APEX Future of Pharmacy winner.


Rita Lyster
Rita’s Apothecary & Home Healthcare offers big city services with a small town heart. Rita opened her store in December 2009 with a compounding pharmacy, PacMed pouch packaging machine and unique items customers would normally have to drive an hour and a half to purchase in Edmonton. But it’s her community spirit and specialized knowledge that really take the prize.

For her efforts, Rita was recognized with the Rookie of the Year award.

In an era of doctor shortages and lengthy wait times, Rita’s patients are thankful for her diverse skill set. She has completed pharmacy continuing education courses in medication compounding, smoking cessation, maximizing drug therapy effectiveness and monitoring drug therapy using laboratory values. She has also been granted advanced prescribing authority and can order lab tests and give injections.

She also reaches out to local health professionals, inviting them for tours of her pharmacy, webinars and orientation to a hypertension project she runs.

Rita was also the 2009 APEX Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia winner.

Tyler Watson
Tyler was recognized with the Student Leadership award.

A fourth-year pharmacy student, Tyler is an advocate for students, a committed volunteer, a multiple award-winner, a superior researcher, two-time president of the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association (APSA) and one of the top academic performers in his class.

“I am continually amazed at Tyler’s level of commitment and passion towards the profession,” said Christine Hughes, associate professor and chair of the Pharmacy Practice Division at the U of A. “Without question, Tyler is one of the most effective leaders our student council has had over the past 14 years.”

As president of APSA, Watson helped create strong relationships between students and faculty members and provided leadership on issues ranging from admission processes to curriculum changes. He also helped develop the association’s Community Support Committee, which has raised thousands of dollars for earthquake relief and cancer research and hosted free hypertension and osteoporosis screening clinics in the community.

All awards were presented in Toronto on Nov. 28 at this year’s Commitment to Care & Service Awards, hosted by pharmacy magazines Pharmacy Practice and Drugstore Canada.