Kathleen Gesy - FCAPhO 2018 Recipient

For the past 30 years, my career has been fully committed to the field of oncology pharmacy practice in Saskatchewan. In those early days, oncology pharmacy as a specialty practice was just emerging. Development of knowledge and expertise was gained through a significant commitment to self-learn, along with on-the-job experience. It is difficult list or put into words all of the changes and initiatives that I have seen since 1987.

After 14 years of providing pharmacy services through hospital contracted services, I became the first pharmacist directly employed by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency in 2001 with provincial over-site for the development of oncology pharmacy services. In the years that followed, my career focused on developing a fully integrated pharmacy department within the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency that could be held to the highest standard of oncology pharmacy practice. A fully integrated pharmacy program within the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency was realized in December 2009. I have been involved and led many initiatives to continually improve our pharmacy program in the Cancer Agency, with major highlights that include: development of our first Oncology Drug Formulary, implementation of a provincial oncology computer system, standardization of oncology drug preparation, development of complete preprinted order sets for all systemic therapy, use of closed systems for hazardous drug preparation and integration of ‘sub-specialized’ pharmacists into BMT and hematology. The
work is never done.

I have been involved in sharing expertise through education in oncology expertise both within the province and nationally. My staff are supported and encouraged to learn, attend and make contributions to their oncology pharmacy practice. For many years, I have been involved in teaching oncology therapeutics at the University of Saskatchewan, and exposing pharmacy students to oncology pharmacy practice through undergraduate preceptorship and summer employment.

I have contributed to our national CAPhO organization through serving on previous executives as the secretary. In 2012, I was pleased to serve as the conference chair of the NOPS meeting in Saskatoon.

In more recent years, with the changing landscape of oncology drug review and reimbursement access in Canada, I have made contributions and provided expertise to many national committees including the Provincial Advisory Group (PAG) of the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) program where I currently serve as chair, the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance within which I have led 15 national oncology drug program price negotiations and serve as a member of the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agency Systemic Therapy Safety Committee and Cancer Drug Implementation Advisory Committee (CDIAC).

In looking back, I hope one of the most important contributions is the development and mentorship of new oncology pharmacists and technicians that are energized about this everchanging field of oncology pharmacy practice and the importance of safe, patient-centered care.