Summary Report

As the recipient of the 2023 ISOPP Symposium Travel Grant, I am grateful to the CAPhO Awards and Grants Program for affording me this opportunity. I attended the 2023 Symposium in Seville, Spain with three colleagues from the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre. Here I will share a “capsule” of this remarkable experience and how it benefitted my practice.

What I learned 
With rapidly advancing updates in oncology pharmacy, we are continually presented with new data. This is one of the reasons I am passionate about the oncology field. However, I would emphasize that instead of strictly issuing the “facts”, being at the Symposium helped develop a sense of the bigger picture. I believe that this conceptual learning can help us brainstorm, communicate, and lead to produce change in the workplace.

For example, it was enlightening to attend the two sessions that discussed how oncology care is delivered in different countries (Kenya, Pakistan, Spain, the UK, USA, and Australia). I learned about unique challenges across these healthcare models and how clinicians from regional districts are establishing standard resources to move forward. I also gained an appreciation about disparities in cancer care (US data was presented) which challenged me to become sensitive to the disparities that may exist in our own health care system at the National and institutional level.
Read about Samantha Scott's experience at CAPhO 2023.
Personally, the sessions in which I was most interested were about pharmacogenetic applications in oncology. Here I identified the gaps that exist in Canadian practice. In comparable nations, pharmacogenetic testing is routine and the respective funding is non-precluding.  As we are currently laying the groundwork for DPD testing at our centre, I plan to first share features of these presentations with our pharmacy department at rounds, and then connect with our clinician scientist and GI oncology lead implementing these processes. In addition, this is a key area of future research for our centre to help fill the gaps in the literature to enhance our understanding of dosing schemes in various situations.

Networking and Research
A highlight of the conference for me was the research poster exhibit. Participating in the plenary session for my podium poster presentation was a meaningful opportunity to build communication skills. At the symposia, I took note of the scientific questions that other delegates faced in their practice and how they endeavoured to answer them with research. I saw similarities and opportunities for collaboration. The prospect of building pharmacy practice research into my career is rewarding, yet challenging. Since I am a novice researcher, learning about others’ findings spurred new curiosities which will sustain my passion in this area.

During the networking session, pharmacists from Spain were interested in learning about the oral anticancer therapy program at our centre for their own training and institutional development. Having made these connections, we are investigating the possibility of a fellowship. This is evidence of how we can learn from each other's practices and forces us to continually evaluate our own. 

The theme for the conference was “Collaborate to innovate”. It was collaboration between my colleagues that spawned our research that was shared at the symposium. Further collaborating with oncology pharmacy professionals from across the globe was a rewarding experience. My past graduate supervisor always advised me that an effective presentation causes the viewer or reader to think. This is what I felt attending the ISOPP Symposium sessions helped me achieve; the fluid thinking that we need to solve clinical, administrative and scientific problems in front-line practice.

About the author