FCAPhO Recipient 2016 - John Wiernikowski

John WiernikowskiHaving never aspired to a career in Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Pharmacy; the last 28 years have been more professionally rewarding than I could have hoped for.  I was supported from day 1 by physicians and allied health colleagues to push boundaries of my practice leading me to be able to initiate pharmacy/pharmacotherapy interventions with the team’s full support.  This included initiating/changing antimicrobial therapy, pain medications and progressed to writing chemotherapy orders; (quite progressive for 1987!).

The role served as a model for other clinical pharmacy specialists within our institution.  I was invited to serve as the Pharmacy representative to the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) Research committee in 1987 which I still serve on; and which lead to other Provincial initiatives in Childhood cancer control, such as expansion of the POGO registry and health database (POGONIS); and establishment of a network of satellite centres throughout the Province of Ontario.  Through POGO I have served in various consultatory roles to the Ministry of Health on issues related to childhood cancer; particularly in the domain of proper funding of cancer drugs for children in Ontario.

In 1988 I was invited to give a talk in the potential of Liposomes in Oncology.  This was one of the very first NOPS meetings in Toronto; which lead to formation of CAPhO; an organization I have been a member of since it’s inception.  I have had the honour of serving on the CAPhO Education and Awards Committees; the newly formed Research Committee, and as a member of the working group writing the initial set of CAPhO Standards for Oncology practice.  I also served as CAPhO treasurer for 2 terms.

The early/mid 1990’s opened another chapter in my career.  I was invited by Larry Broadfield to attend a gathering of International Oncology Pharmacists in Toronto in 1993. This of course led to the establishment of the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners (ISOPP); followed shortly thereafter in 1995 by an invitation to participate as a UICC ICRETT Fellow in an interdisciplinary team looking at cancer services for children in South America. This was a transformational experience, highlighting for me the inequalities in access to care for 80% of the world’s children.

From that point I have devoted much of my efforts on International health; serving on Education and Research committees of ISOPP, as well as serving on the Secretariat in the roles of: member at large, President-Elect, President and currently, Secretary.  I also joined SIOP in 1997, and am an active member of the Pediatric Oncology in Developing Countries committee.

In 2011 I was invited to participate in a working group addressing access to cancer drugs for children in developing countries.  Throughout this time, I have also maintained an active academic career, participating in numerous clinical trial committees of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG); local research projects and mentoring Pharmacy students locally as well as Oncology Pharmacists from around the world.