40 for 40

In honor of the NBPA’s 40th anniversary, we've launched a new series of profiles to highlight the unique and excellent work of 40 pharmacy professionals. Know a New Brunswick pharmacy professional whose work we should highlight? Send your suggestions to Laure Piccetto at membership@nbpharma.ca

#12 of 40 - LEE-ANN RITCHIE

Meet Lee-Ann Ritchie!

Lee-Ann is a pharmacist who brings her community together, one patient at a time. “The past two years have undoubtedly been the craziest of my career and patients pulling me aside to tell me that I’m helping them means so much to me.” Woodstock’s tight-knit community was hit as hard as any other in the province, and like other pharmacies, Newnham & Slipp Guardian stayed open so that staff continued to provide not only vital health care services but also much-needed comfort and support to their patients. That in-person interaction with patients (even while masked at a distance) served as a lifeline for many people in her community during the early stages of the pandemic.

Lee-Ann knew she would be a pharmacist from a young age as she grew up watching her mother, pharmacist/owner, Barb Kierstead, care for patients at Newnham & Slipp. Fast forward to some years later, Lee-Ann stayed true to her dream of becoming a pharmacist, graduating from Dalhousie University’s College of Pharmacy in 2000. “Pharmacy has always been my passion and my mom has always been my inspiration.” Lee-Ann worked alongside her mom after graduating from Dal, became manager in 2003, and eventually purchased the pharmacy in 2015. Additionally, she represented District 4 on the NBPA’s Board of Directors from 2010 to 2014 and served on two committees and a working group.

Thank you for being a shining example of a dedicated family and community-oriented pharmacist, Lee-Ann.

#11 of 40 - ROB ROSCOE

Meet Rob Roscoe!

Rob is a pharmacist who is passionate about helping people who have diabetes. As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) for 15 of his 30 plus years in pharmacy, he is knowledgeable in all diabetes topics from complications to medical management to lifestyle management. As a pharmacist, Rob’s strength is medication management. He currently practices by working in collaboration with doctors to host patient consult clinics. This allows Rob and the family doctor to evaluate each patient’s specific needs and to determine how best they can support patients going forward. Rob starts each session with this question: What can I help you with or understand about your diabetes today? This lets Rob know what patients are concerned with, and allows him to guide the conversation to help them realize that they can help themselves by discussing all available options. He says patients and their families leave his sessions feeling more confidence that they can self-manage their diabetes with “a little help from Rob and their family doctor.”

“Every patient being unique is a challenge that I welcome, since it makes my practice quite versatile, and that’s what I love most about what I do”, says Rob. “It’s also great to talk with doctors to elaborate on the role pharmacists have in healthcare and diabetes, specifically”. A regulated health care professional can become a Certified Diabetes Educator by completing 800 practice hours (for tasks like teaching how to give injections or counselling on diabetes medication) over a period of three years, followed by a comprehensive exam. The certification must be renewed every five years by having either completing 250 continuing education hours or rewriting the exam.

Thank you, Rob, for using your specialized expertise to improve the lives of New Brunswickers with diabetes.

#10 of 40 - TRACIE BLAKNEY PAIXAO

Meet Tracie Blakney Paixao!

Tracie’s favorite part of being a pharmacist is helping people plan their vacations! Many don’t associate vacation planning with the pharmacy profession, but Tracie is one of a growing number of New Brunswick Pharmacists who have specialized training in travel medicine. Tracie earned her Certificate in Travel Health in 2017 from the International Society of Travel Medicine after writing the exam in Barcelona, Spain. At Shoppers Drug Mart Travel Clinic and Government of Canada Yellow Fever Vaccination Center in Quispamsis, she consults with patients both by appointment and as walk-ins discussing patient-specific pre-travel advice based on itinerary, prevention of geography-specific infectious disease by vaccination, city-specific malaria prevention, travelers’ diarrhea prevention and treatment, prevention of insect diseases by destination, altitude illness, up-to-date travel alerts, country-specific drug allowances and country-specific information. Her training and certification allow her to prescribe and administer an increased scope of pre-travel immunizations as well as medicines patients may need to take with them.

“I love travel medicine because people going on trips are so excited and happy to be traveling. It’s such a pleasure to share in their joy,” says Tracie. Tracie’s love of pharmacy must be infectious. Her daughter is in her third year of pharmacy school at Dalhousie University. Tracie is also the preceptor to an international graduate, doing 20 weeks of practical experience in Canada. In addition to her already busy practice, Tracie trains Pharmacists and Registered Pharmacy Techs how to administer injections through Dalhousie University’s CPE program.

Thank you for advancing the profession through your specific skillset, Tracie. Your passion for the profession and for travel pharmacy knows no borders!

#9 of 40 - TOBY BRANSCOMBE

Meet Toby Branscombe!

Toby is helping to blaze a new trail in New Brunswick’s pharmacy profession. In 2015, she became one of the first licensed pharmacy technicians in the province, and just last year, she became one of the first technicians to be trained and authorized to administer injections, a move that allowed her to help protect New Brunswickers against COVID-19. Toby got her start in the healthcare field by working in home care services for the Canadian Red Cross but because the hours were irregular and not guaranteed, she was on the hunt for a new job. After completing training at Compu College, Toby started working as a pharmacy assistant at the Jean Coutu in Fredericton in 2007. She continued to further her training in 2012 by starting to take a bridging program to become a pharmacy technician. She completed her national testing requirements and became a licensed pharmacy technician in 2015 when the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists started regulating the technician profession.

“It’s the best decision I ever made. It’s been so different yet so rewarding. I love working with the public and helping my community.” Toby enjoys all aspects of the job, including safely processing and preparing medications, along with other tasks such as handling inventory. She adds that as one of the more experienced pharmacy technicians, she assists with the interviewing and onboarding process for new team members, sets up their training schedule and helps with their training, whether this be by coaching them on the drug distribution system or assisting them in speaking with patients.

Thank you for so kindly helping your community through your expertise and love of the profession, Toby.

#8 of 40 - CINDY AULT

Meet Cindy Ault!

Since getting her first job as a cashier at Shoppers Drug Mart in Bathurst in grade 10, Cindy knew her true calling was pharmacy. Working in her local pharmacy at such a young age showed her clearly how much pharmacists help the people in her community. “It’s always been pharmacy for me. Helping people is what inspired me to become a pharmacist and it’s what drives me to this day.” With no doubts about her future career choice, Cindy studied at Dalhousie University and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 2013 and now works at the Jean Coutu in Bathurst. 

She also attended different Medisca specialized training programs for sterile and non-sterile compounding in 2015 and 2016. This training allows her to focus on topical pain management, such as pain creams, as this is the pharmacy’s specialty. She collaborates with physicians to safely tweak recipes specifically to the patient’s situation. Her ability to tailor patients’ medications based on their needs helps their healing process. In addition to her job, Cindy offers presentations to staff of nursing homes about sleep and insomnia, diabetes, and how to use commonly used pharmaceutical devices. She also helps promote the role of pharmacists in the community by giving presentations to the public about the profession. 

Thank you for following your true calling and always going the extra mile to help patients, Cindy.

#7 of 40 - ANDREW BRILLANT

Meet Andrew Brillant!

Andrew always knew he wanted to work in health care, but he didn’t decide on becoming a pharmacist until he started browsing university programs during his last year of high school and discovered all the ways pharmacists can help patients. That realization has led him to a rewarding career as a hospital pharmacist; His collaborative work with other healthcare providers has helped countless patients and advanced the pharmacy profession too. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Saskatchewan in 2003, Andrew returned to his home province of New Brunswick. He spent 13 years splitting his time between the Saint John Regional Hospital and St. Joseph’s Community Health Centre, where he cared for patients in collaborative practice with physicians, nurse practitioners and other health care providers. That setting allowed him to work to the full scope of pharmacy practice in New Brunswick.

“I worked directly with people in the community, made decisions about their medications, helped them quit smoking, was able to order and interpret lab tests to help monitor patients in certain circumstances, such as those who take blood thinners. It’s been the most rewarding work I have ever done in my career,” he says. Since 2020, Andrew has been working as a Pharmacy Site Manager for Horizon Health Network at the Charlotte County Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Sussex Health Center. Andrew also served on the NBPA Board of Directors for 9 years, including three years as President, as well as volunteering with the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists NB Branch for two years.

Thank you, Andrew, for being a shining example of how pharmacists can use their drug expertise and skills to improve access to primary health care for New Brunswickers.

#5 and #6 of 40 - GREG AND LOREIGH MACKAY

Meet Greg and Loreigh MacKay!

After meeting at pharmacy school at Dalhousie University in 2006, Greg and Loreigh went from lab partners to life partners. Loreigh works as a relief pharmacist, providing a full range of services including minor ailments assessing and prescribing, methadone dispensing and injections, which are particularly in demand during this pandemic. “I love being able to help people all around the province. It’s a very gratifying way of working in my field.”  Working as a relief pharmacist allows Loreigh to be in control of her schedule, which helps with work/life balance. That flexibility has also helped she and Greg juggle the needs of their two young children during school closures amid the pandemic.

A regular day for Greg takes place at the Jean Coutu pharmacy in Fredericton, where his tasks include dispensing, compounding, minor ailment prescribing, and vaccinations. Greg has specialized training in opioid treatment from the University of British Columbia (UBC). “Growing up, my best friend’s parents were pharmacists, and we would be in the pharmacy almost every day. I admired the way they impacted their staff and the relationships they built with the customers. That admiration and the feeling that you could always do more to help people, that’s what got me thinking about becoming a pharmacist.” Greg and Loreigh sometimes work alongside each other at the Jean Coutu making for a great workplace dynamic for this pharmacist duo.

Thank you both for your contributions to the pharmacy profession.

#4 of 40 - DOUGLAS DOUCETTE

Meet Doug Doucette!

You might recognize him as the Director of Pharmacy for Horizon Health Network, but his path to a career in pharmacy started in quite a different setting – the Canadian Armed Forces. After studying science at Dalhousie University, Doug enlisted in 1985 as an Officer Cadet in the Regular Officer Training Program so he could serve his country while also earning a pharmacy degree. That decision led him to an impressive and varied 21-year career as a Pharmacy Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, including stints in military hospitals, base clinics, medical equipment depots in Halifax, Gagetown, Petawawa, Calgary and Edmonton. He completed two overseas tours as Pharmacy Officer in an advanced surgical hospital in the former Yugoslavia and a medical clinic & equipment supply in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

During his time at CFB Borden, he served as pharmacist to 1000 Kosovar refugees, and at CFB Edmonton, he coordinated the Clinical Standards Program for Pharmacy and mentored Pharmacy Officers in critical care units, surgery and trauma wards of the Royal Alexandra Hospital. After leaving active duty in 2006, Doug remained a Reserve Pharmacy Officer for another eight years before retiring with the rank of Major. Doug has continued to be a pharmacy leader in his civilian career. He’s served as the President of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists and taught at Dalhousie’s College of Pharmacy. Doug says his military experience taught him valuable lessons that have helped him lead hospital pharmacists in New-Brunswick, especially during COVID-19. “I’ve always aspired to bring out the best in people, to use assets and resources wisely and to make decisions based on evidence and centered on patient needs,” he says.

Thank you for continuing to serve the pharmacy profession on such a large scale, Doug.

#3 of 40 BRAD STEEVES

Meet Brad Steeves!

Brad is a pharmacist who co-owns Mapleton Pharmacy in Moncton, a pharmacy that specializes in compounding medications from their base ingredients to meet patients' unique needs. Brad and his team can do everything from preparing custom-made sterile injections to turning a medication into a gummy so that it’s easier for a child to take. Got an allergy to a certain filler or your medication is discontinued? Brad can likely help by compounding exactly what you need. After graduating from Dalhousie University, Brad furthered his compounding training by taking a variety of programs including at the University of Florida, and he currently sits on the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) Sterile Standards Working Group.

He and his staff work collaboratively with other health care professionals in many areas, including palliative care. For example, his team compounds personalized, symptom alleviating injectable therapy that are delivered to the patient’s home. This allows patients to remain at home with their families in their final days and helps keeps hospital and palliative care beds free for others. When Brad saw the unmet patient needs in the province, his plan to open a standard pharmacy quickly changed, which proved to be incredibly rewarding. “We’re a facility like no other in the Atlantic provinces,” says Brad. “We provide services to New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia. We’re really proud of that, and we have such a good team to make it happen. It’s nice to close your eyes at night and know you’re helping people.”

Thank you for broadening the way we think of pharmacy, Brad.

#2 of 40 - AYUB CHISHTI

Meet Ayub Chishti!

Ayub is the pharmacist/owner at Campus Pharmacy at the University of New Brunswick (which all houses St. Thomas University and NBCC), in Fredericton. The pharmacy services all ages but the majority of clients are young people, especially post-secondary students and athletes, due to the store’s location. A graduate of Portsmouth University in England, Ayub started his career as a hospital pharmacist in London but has worked as a pharmacist in the Fredericton area for nearly 35 years. Campus Pharmacy specializes in travel and sports medicine, and Ayub also recognizes mental health as a major issue due to academic and social stresses, which have been exacerbated by the Pandemic.

“My goal has always been to make the Pharmacy a safe and positive space for everyone who walks in,” says Ayub. “My staff and I do our best to create a great atmosphere: a lot of laughter, a lot of fun; and the customers, they really appreciate it. I hope customers of all ages feel comfortable coming here. I do what I can to support them with their health needs.” Ayub has earned recognition from both UNB and St. Thomas University for the best service provider in the city. Additionally, he has served on the Board of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC), Pharmasave Atlantic, ARP (now changed to Pharmachoice), the Abony Tennis center, and served on committees with NBPA and NBCP and was a medical appointee for the federal Disability Pension Tribunal. He supports various charitable organizations such as the Chrysalis House, a youth in transition house in Fredericton.

Thank you for always being there to help your patients and your community, Ayub!

#1 of 40 - ANGELA SHEASGREEN

Meet Angela Sheasgreen!

Angela is the pharmacy manager at the Elsipogtog Pharmasave, the first pharmacy in Canada owned by a First Nations community. Angela quickly reacted to the onset of the pandemic by implementing safety protocols such as wearing PPE, enforcing physical distancing, and spacing out visits for the 80-100 people involved in the addictions program. Her ongoing collaboration with doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners helped her move quickly to deliver necessary supplies to community residents as part of the pharmacy’s addictions program. “One of the reasons I love what I do so much is that I get to work alongside other health professionals as a team to help patients find the care they need” says Angela. “Knowing our work can make a difference in their lives is immensely rewarding.”

She packaged methadone doses and other supplies for a licensed practical nurse to deliver directly to residents’ driveways, ensuring safe, remote distribution. Going above and beyond, Angela also provided after-hours Narcan information sessions separate from the addictions program to provide reliable education on the use of Naloxone. Having adapted to this ‘new normal’, Angela hosts COVID vaccination clinics once or twice a week to make it easy for eligible members of the community to get vaccinated.

Thank you for your continuous efforts dedicated to the well-being of Elsipogtog residents, Angela.