Rick Abbott - CAPhO19 Summary Report

It is a great privilege and opportunity to attend the Capho 2019 conference in Halifax, NS.  If memory serves me correct, this is the 17th national Canadian Oncology Pharmacy Conference I have attended in the past 19 years and the 2 years I missed were due to personal reasons beyond my control.  Thus, attending this conference for me is a priority for many reasons and in keeping with past conferences, the Halifax conference committee planned and delivered a program that was enlightening, relevant to all and thought provoking.  

Why is attending the Capho conference so important?  Firstly, it is relevant to all levels of pharmacy health care professionals.  Our profession is very diverse, we have administrators such as myself, front line-direct patient care practitioners, advanced practice practitioners, oncology drug distribution specialists (both Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacists), drug access navigators, clinical pharmacy educators, academics, researchers, pharmacy residents and students.  However, despite the diversity we all share a common goal.  We all want to provide exemplary, safe and timely care to our patients.   Regardless of your role within oncology pharmacy practice we are all striving to achieve the same goal and we all play an integral role in achieving it.  The key components in working towards this goal is staying current as it pertains to evidence based practice as well as collaboration on the application of clinical evidence to develop models of best practice.  

Capho 2019 provided high level education programs through the many plenary and satellite presentations.  Personally, I particularly enjoyed the satellite symposiums relating to biosimilars.  The introduction of biosimilars to the oncology setting creates opportunities and challenges for oncology pharmacy practice.   These programs provided insight on the clinical evidence as well as interesting perspectives on the roles and challenges we will face in navigating this shift in treatment and practice. The presenters provided a balanced review of clinical evidence and practical information on the challenges of implementation.

The plenary program was equally impressive.  The opening plenary on the Evolution of Adjuvant Systemic Therapy for the Treatment of Breast Cancer by Dr. MacCormick was a perfect opening to the conference.  His presentation was entertaining and enlightening.  It provided us with an overview of how past research in oncology treatment has influenced our current practices of today.  I was also glad to see the organizing committee include the Round Table Discussions again at Capho.  This format is one of my personal favorite methods to share best practice, generate great discussion, create networking opportunities and in many cases, subsequent practice change.  I also particularly enjoy the poster presentations, I am always amazed at the quality of research being done as well as opportunity to network with residents and new practitioners.  The growth of our practice as oncology pharmacy specialists relies a great deal on the engagement of students, residents and new practitioners.

Equally important to all the things I have highlighted above, is the Capho conference provides opportunity to make new friends and reacquaint with old friends.   For the first time at a Capho conference I spent some time volunteering to staff the Capho booth in the exhibit hall.   I would strongly encourage others to be involved and I am so glad I did.  It provided me with an excellent opportunity to meet new oncology practitioners and make new friends.  It also reminded me of how long I have been working in oncology!   We are a relatively small and select group of care providers and the opportunity to meet in person once a year should not be taken lightly.   We are constantly challenged to stay current in our practice and provide the best possible care within our limited resources.   The opportunity to gain new perspectives from new friends and to respectfully challenge current perspectives with old friends is really the key to providing not only Personalized Medicine but also Personalized Practice.

A very sincere and well-earned thank you to the Capho 2019 Planning Committee, the Capho Executive Committee and all the other Capho volunteers.  

Respectfully Submitted,

Rick Abbott, 
Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Center
St. John’s, NL