When Carmen Wyton got word that she had been appointed by the Minister of Health to serve on ACP Council as a public member, she was pleasantly surprised and welcomed the news. With an extensive background in community health and government relations, Carmen brings a new perspective to the table.
“I’ve always held the belief that pharmacists play a pivotal role in a patient’s ability to navigate the health system,” said Carmen. “The pharmacist is often the first person someone will go to when they’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with them. I have great respect for the profession and if there’s a way I can contribute, I’m more than keen to do that.”
Carmen is the CEO of BILD Alberta—the amalgamation of the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association of Alberta and the Urban Development Institute—which unifies the voice of the land development, home building, and professional renovation industries. Previously, Carmen worked with organizations such as Sanofi Canada, Special Olympics Alberta, and several health charities: Juvenile Diabetes, The Arthritis Society, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society (Alberta Division).
She also has served as a public member on the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the Alberta Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Initiative (ANVSI), and municipal advisory groups in her home community of St. Albert.
For Carmen, her focus has been on ensuring that naïve patients can navigate the health system.
“It’s about the individual who doesn’t know where to turn,” she said. “They haven’t consulted with a clinical professional. They aren’t sure if the health issues they are experiencing are real. I have always encouraged them to talk to their pharmacist. The pharmacist profession is an intersecting point for great patient experiences and better health outcomes. Pharmacists recognize things patients can’t. They document things that physicians don’t. As a person ages, a relationship with a pharmacist becomes even more critical.”
Carmen has already participated in two ACP Council meetings and likes what she sees so far.
“My very first meeting was a teleconference,” Carmen said. “I was expecting to be a fly on the wall and get an idea of the culture and how conversation was generated. But it was so easy to engage, and I felt I had some relevant experience to offer right from the get-go. It was a way to break in and prepare for my first face-to-face meeting. The connection between the group, the interest in hearing from everybody, and the recognition of the contributions of public members was felt in spades. I think it’s a smart council that’s also thoughtful and open-minded in their discussions. It’s a great culture for me to join.”