Michelle Koberinski - CAPhO18 Summary Report

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to start by thanking the members of the CAPhO Awards Committee for awarding me a Wild Card Travel Grant which allowed me to attend the 2018 CAPhO Conference in beautiful Gatineau-Ottawa. Even with the rainy weather the beauty of the region shone through.

I have attended NOPS/CAPhO Conferences in the past and was thrilled to attend this one in Gatineau-Ottawa. I knew I would be in for a great weekend of education, networking, and of course fun. The organizing committee must be commended for their tireless work putting together a conference that showcased the theme of ‘Better Together’. Patients deserve to benefit from the expertise of the oncology pharmacy team and that concept shone through during the conference.

The opening plenary on Saturday morning discussed Health Literacy- How Pharmacy Can Help Navigate Health Information for Patients. Tamara Harth explained how patients can get lost in our world of medical terms and don’t always feel confident to stand up and say “I don’t know what you mean”. She shared her experience as a patient. Even with her experience working in healthcare, she said she struggled understanding what the doctors were telling her about her injury. She also struggled with telling the perceived shame of doctors she didn’t understand. Tamara then provided tips on simplifying the information for patients so that they do understand, in case the patient is not comfortable asking their healthcare provider what they mean.

Another session that resonated with me was the panel presentation on Post Cancer Treatment- The New Normal. Helene Bourget-Letarte and Frances Cusano spoke about their experience in being diagnosed with cancer after having worked as oncology pharmacists for a number of years. They discussed the need to be actively involved in treatment decisions and how the experience changed how they practice in oncology today. Alex Hajjar also shared his story as a patient that was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at only 17 years old. The experience affected his life in such a way as he felt the need to help people after his treatment. He created a volunteer support program which connects patients diagnosed with cancer with a survivor of that disease. Alex is planning on going to medical school in the fall!

There were so many amazing talks; I couldn’t possibly highlight them all.

It was also great to see the record number of posters at the conference. With so many ground breaking research posters and innovative contributions to oncology pharmacy, the posters were a must-see.

I was proud to present my poster on Development of a Pharmacy Oncology Certification Program. Many people stopped by to ask questions and provide information on what they do at their site.

Thank you again to the organizing committee for a great conference and the awards committee for the Wild Card Travel Grant. The conference left me more informed and feeling very inspired to bring that education back to my organization and get to work!

Michelle Koberinski