PPC 2020 Delivers Networking, Education, and Celebrations to Hundreds of Hospital Pharmacy Practice Delegates


The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) hosted several engaging sessions during its Professional Practice Conference (PPC) 2020 in Toronto. Below is a summary of the sessions attended by Jessica Robinson, CSHP’s Professional Practice Specialist.

Day 1: Sunday, February 2, 2020

The first day of CSHP’s Professional Practice Conference (PPC) 2020 was focused on research and education. Here is a summary of some of the great presentations that we heard on February 2, 2020:


Dr. Karyn Gordon kicks things off at PPC 2020

CSHP’s PPC 2020 started off strong with an amazing Keynote presentation by Karyn Gordon centered on the importance of emotional intelligence (EI). She was engaging and funny, as she explained the different types of personas we can project. She then gave suggestions on how to be more confident in the workplace. The audience happily participated by sending texts to loved ones seeking performance feedback, which generated lots of laughs at the responses received. Everyone left the session feeling motivated to increase their EI using the various strategies Karyn taught. The presentation was a great way to kick off an amazing PPC!

Sean Hopkins from Cancer Care Ontario presented a great concurrent session on biosimilars in oncology. He reviewed the studies that allowed biosimilars of trastuzumab and bevacizumab to be brought to market in Canada. His thorough presentation gave the audience great confidence in the efficacy and safety of the biosimilars that we are using every day.

The first Satellite Symposium sponsored by Novartis, “How Pharmacists can Optimize the Care of Patients with Heart Failure”, was presented by two pharmacists and a physician who work in heart failure clinics. The presenters offered an excellent review of the latest heart failure guidelines and new treatment options, and they provided many practical tips to help with the management of symptomatic patients. It was a great summary of the current state of medication management for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

Two economists from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health gave a "Health Economics 101 Workshop" at the conference. They dove into the modelling used to establish their recommendations about the funding of new medications coming to market in Canada. They explained the calculation of quality-adjusted life years and how this value can be used to estimate the utility of adding a drug to provincial formularies. The speakers were dynamic and engaging, as they made the world of health economics easier to understand for front-line healthcare professionals.

Conference attendees were fortunate to have Allan Coukell return to Canada to discuss his journey towards becoming a “policy entrepreneur”. After walking the audience through his experiences in scientific writing and journalism in New Zealand and Boston, he shared the amazing work he has been leading at The Pew Charitable Trusts. His presentation entitled "The Making of a Policy Entrepreneur" described the work he is doing to bring about policy changes in areas like drug compounding facilities, antimicrobial innovation, and the opioid crisis. He motivated the audience to strive for policy changes in Canada that can be led by advocacy efforts by CSHP.

Policy window revealed during Allan Coukell’s presentation

Day 2: Monday, February 3, 2020

Day 2 of PPC 2020 focused on acute care and specialty therapeutics. Here is a summary of some of the great talks delegates heard on February 3, 2020:

A plenary session by Jack Hourigan about partnering with patients and families started the day. Jack bravely told the story of her own experience with having both of her children in the hospital. She provided the audience with great insight into the perspective of patients and families and their experience with the healthcare system. She used her background in improvisation to connect with the audience and even had them laughing at certain intervals, while eloquently conveying her family’s struggles. Jack emphasized the need to take the time to consider what patients are going through and made the point that a simple smile and eye contact can go a long way.

Dr. Vinita Dubey from Toronto Public Health spoke during a concurrent session about how to educate vaccine-hesitant patients. Dr. Dubey discussed the abundance of misinformation that patients and parents are seeing, especially through social media. She provided some great tactics and phrases that can be used with parents who haven’t yet decided if they will vaccinate their children. She also had some useful references that included facts about vaccine components (e.g., mercury and aluminum) and simple explanations for concerned parents about the safety of those components.

Christina Adams, CSHP’s Chief Pharmacy Officer, spoke about best possible medication history (BPMH) by pharmacy technicians. This was a practical talk about the logistics, challenges, and successes that a community hospital experienced with their BPMH program. There were also great questions by the audience leading to discussions about how other centres could implement a similar program.

Jeff Nagge from the University of Waterloo provided a concurrent session on “A Year in Review: A High Level Critical Appraisal of Important Papers from 2019”. Jeff’s quick, yet in depth review of a few hot topics from the last year provided the audience with a great update. Jeff also shared his views on the different uses for SGLT2 inhibitors in practice, as well as the safety of vaping, which was informative and helpful.

Marisa Battistella from the University Health Network spoke about new developments in nephrology. Marisa provided a thorough overview of the potassium binders that are new to the Canadian market. She also shared great recommendations about limiting the use of denosumab in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Town Hall slido poll

CSHP held its inaugural Town Hall and opened up the audience via an interactive livestream on social media. The one hour session was designed to solicit member engagement and feedback into CSHP’s future. Following an overview of CSHP’s Strategy Towards Sustainability, several issues were discussed to tease out pharmacy practice needs in Canada that could be uniquely met by CSHP. The audience was polled on-site to reveal the three most pressing things CSHP needed to address.

Given the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, Dr. Allison McGeer, who is a renowned infectious diseases expert from the University of Toronto, made a last minute appearance at PPC 2020 to deliver an extremely informative talk about what we do, and do not know, about 2019-nCoV. Her detailed explanation of the infection control practices learned from the SARS outbreak in Toronto was reassuring, but she was also very honest about how much we do not yet know about this new virus. She answered the audience’s questions and left everyone with an understanding of where we are now in this outbreak. Everyone was go grateful to have her on such short notice to address this pressing global health issue. You can watch Dr. McGeer’s full presentation on livestream replay.

Day 3: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The final day of CSHP’s conference was focused on primary care, administration, and policy. Here is a summary of some of the great talks that took place on February 4, 2020:

Jeopardy hosts,  Arden Barry and Zack Dumont

PPC 2020 had its inaugural CSHP Jeopardy game hosted by Arden Barry and Zack Dumont. This hilarious contest of pharmacy knowledge pitted three teams of two pharmacists/residents against each other in a battle for trivia supremacy. The categories ranged from “Just Little Adults” to “Decision Support Tools” and everything in between. It was a hard fought battle that culminated in a Final Jeopardy category of “PK”. The audience laughed nearly continuously as the mustached hosts led the teams and audience through the game. There is no doubt that everyone in attendance hopes this will become an annual event!

Patricia Marr from Toronto Western Family Health Team discussed the use of ASA in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Over the last year, there have been three major papers published addressing ASA use in moderate cardiovascular risk, diabetic, and elderly patients for primary prevention. The surrounding media coverage on this issue has led many patients with all different indications for ASA to question whether they should still be taking this medication. Patricia explained the different trial results and the subsequent changes in guidelines. She reminded the audience to carefully dig through each patient’s history to find their exact indication for ASA before making recommendations about discontinuing, given that patient records do not always accurately reflect the patient’s reason for being started on ASA.

Neil MacKinnon and Zack Dumont spoke about, “Maximizing Your Impact by Maximizing Others”. Zack started off by diving into the importance of succession planning within every pharmacy department. He discussed the exodus of the baby boomers from the workforce and how many institutions do not have a plan in place to replace the existing leaders when they retire. Neil then discussed the importance of developing a holistic career and life plan and recommended achieving this by setting goals and being able to define what success is for you. He talked about knowing what your values are and then finding a position in an institution where you are able to live your values. Finally, he reminded the audience that career planning can’t be just a one-time thing; it needs to be re-evaluated regularly to be sure you are on the right track.

PPC 2020 ended with a workshop by Karen Ng about hospital pharmacists implementing opioid stewardship in the acute care setting. This excellent presentation demonstrated the importance of optimizing non-opioid and non-pharmacologic therapy options for patients with pain before moving onto opioids. She talked about avoiding opioids in chronic pain patients due to the limited effectiveness and the potential for adverse effects. She reviewed strategies for tapering opioids in patients who no longer require them, and she reminded the audience about the importance of ensuring patients on opioids have naloxone kits at home. She described the opioid stewardship program that has been established at her institution and motivated the audience to start thinking about how they could start a similar program at their own hospitals.


Select PPC program handouts are available through the conference app (subject to the presenter’s permission). Download .pdfs and more at https://eventmobi.com/cshp_ppc/documents/6fbb47f1-8bdb-4d41-a7af-9e6d554602cb.