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“An honour and a privilege”

May 29, 2019
Calgary’s Tana Yoon becomes first pharmacy technician named to NAPRA Board of Directors.

There’s very little Tana Yoon hasn’t seen or accomplished in her 30-plus years as a pharmacy technician. She’s worked on the front line, in education and management, helped open Calgary ‘s central production facility and the first pharmacy in a Calgary correctional centre, initiated the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board of Alberta as a first step toward regulation in the late 1990s, and is now a technical practice leader for Alberta Health Services, working to apply best practice standards. She also currently works for the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada as the chief examiner for the Alberta OSPE.

Perhaps Tana’s most impressive achievement came just recently when she was named one of three public members—and first-ever pharmacy technician member—to the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities’ (NAPRA) Board of Directors.

“I was instantly excited because I’ve been living NAPRA for the last couple of years because of the compounding standards,” said Tana. “I was quite pleased and surprised that they specifically asked for pharmacy technician applicants. That’s rare on such a grand scale and I thought this was a huge opportunity.”

NAPRA added public members to its board after conducting a governance review several years ago. The goal was to simplify the board’s structure and add perspectives that were previously missing.

“The foremost one was having a pharmacy technician on the board,” said Adele Fifield, NAPRA’S Executive Director. “That was really critical for us. With NAPRA members (provincial colleges) regulating the profession of pharmacy technician as well as pharmacists, it was really critical that the national alliance of regulatory bodies be represented from a pharmacy technician perspective.”

As the first and only pharmacy technician on the NAPRA board, Tana feels the weight on her shoulders, but she’s up for the challenge. She attended her first board meeting in May with the goal of bringing a pharmacy technician lens to the discussions through her expertise and experience.

“I tried to think about the work of NAPRA, which shapes the care our patients are going to receive,” said Tana. “As a pharmacy technician, my appointment is a chance to showcase the relevance of our profession. Inclusion at the national level is quite a critical juncture for us. This demonstrates to our profession that we do have a lot of responsibility and part of that includes fulfilling roles like this.”

She admits to being nervous at first, but Tana quickly settled into her role and actively contributed to her first meeting, proving to be a natural fit to the group.

“Right from the get-go, she had an understanding of NAPRA’s role and our members’ role, and their goal of working towards pharmacy regulatory excellence,” said Adele. “She has watched the pharmacy technician profession grow and recognizes the need to focus on the greater good and what’s best for patients. She has a strong belief that if you focus on what’s best for patients, the profession will thrive.”

For Tana, there is no greater purpose in health care than to do what’s best for patients. She also looks forward to learning from the other leaders at the table.

“How many people get to have a discussion with the pharmacy registrars from every province? Not many, right?” said Tana. “It’s about doing the right thing, being inspired, giving back, learning, and living professionalism and ethics, all those things we try to do every day, but in a very formal capacity.”

Tana has been appointed to a two-year term, with the opportunity for a total of three terms.