Mark it as another first for the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP). Irene Pfeiffer is the first public member to be elected by her Council peers as president of the college.
“I’m really humbled by the confidence that my fellow councillors have in me, but I accept that responsibility,” said Irene. “Fifty per cent of our Council are non-pharmacy professionals. I think it’s time a public member takes the helm. We have such an incredible group of people around that table, working with them will be a pleasure. We all—whether we’re pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, or public members—have a vision for healthy Albertans through excellence in pharmacy practice and that’s the common denominator in our guiding north star.”
Irene was installed as president at ACP’s Celebration of Leadership event in Calgary on June 8, 2022. It marked the first time ACP has been able to hold the event since 2019—the 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The significance of being installed in person was not lost on Irene.
“I can’t express how much it meant to me to have an in-person event,” she said. “I’m a people person. I found Zoom to be efficient for meetings, but I like to feel the presence of people. I could just feel the buzz in the room at the celebration. Just to hug old friends—I’m a hugger at heart—was a real gift to be able to do that. Getting back together is so important.”
Irene joined ACP Council in 2017, bringing a wealth of experience in business, community organizations, and health care. She previously served on the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), including a term as president. She also served with the Health Quality Council of Alberta board. She believes the experience she brings to the table will serve her well as ACP president.
“Specifically with regard to CPSA, it taught me you don’t have to be a technical specialist to lead the group, but you sure need to have them at the table,” Irene said. “You need to be smart enough to go to those people when you need their input. With all the health-related boards I’ve been on, it’s better prepared me for the challenge I have ahead of me for the next year.”
The 2022-23 Council term will be another busy one with many initiatives planned to move forward, all stemming from ACP’s 2021-25 strategic plan. Continuing to implement the plan will be one of Irene’s main priorities.
“Certainly, the strategic plan will be one of them with a continued focus on our core mandate,” said Irene. “This means continuously evaluating and prioritizing what we do. Some of those things include the proposed standards of practice for virtual care and an expansion of ACP’s Licensee Education Program. I think we need to continuously focus on the shortage of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and the associated stress that brings. Overall, we need to bring out-of-the-box thinking to try to develop more expanded solutions in all of these areas.”
Irene’s term as president runs from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.