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Desire to help

Pharmacy education ignites hunger for career in leadership

special feature: Student success

Part of a special feature celebrating the success of Memorial's graduates. This feature coincides with spring convocation 2017.

By Heidi Wicks

For as long as she can remember, entrepreneurship has lit a spark within St. John’s native Jasmine Elliott.

“My father opened his first pharmacy at the age of 21,” said Ms. Elliott, who collects her B.Sc.(Pharmacy) degree during spring convocation at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre on Thursday, June 2.

Genetic disposition

Her propensity for leadership is genetic. Her father, Rick Elliott, became licensed as a pharmacist in 1976 and has been actively involved in the pharmacy community in many capacities ever since, including serving as the Pharmacists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) president. Her mother, Dr. Pamela Elliott (Hicks) holds a bachelor of nursing (’83), a master of business administration degree (’91) and a PhD in medicine (’10) from Memorial. Her brother, Brad Elliott, is also a pharmacist, graduating from the Dalhousie School of Pharmacy in 2011. He received his MBA from Memorial in 2011.

“I knew I had a desire to help others, and I had aptitude for science- and math-related courses.” — Jasmine Elliott

As a result, conversations around the house often related to business and health care.

“When I was in Grade 12,” said Ms. Elliott, “I completed an introductory business course here at Memorial and although I enjoyed becoming familiar with the basic terminology and concept, I knew I had a desire to help others, and I had aptitude for science- and math-related courses, so decided to focus on pursuing a pharmacy degree.”

Conference planning

During her third and fourth year in the pharmacy program at Memorial’s School of Pharmacy, Ms. Elliott served as chair of the board of directors for the Atlantic Pharmacy Advancement Conference. Memorial and Dalhousie University take turns hosting the conference, which was established by the school’s Class of 2006 to create a forum that focuses on the expanded scope of pharmacy practice within Atlantic Canada. The 2015 theme was Pharmacists Bear the Weight: Obesity, Hypertension, and Diabetes Management.

“I discovered that organizing a conference is like operating a small business.” — Jasmine Elliott

The reason for choosing a more specific theme, Ms. Elliott says, was to dig deep into one of the most prevalent health issues and to emphasize the reality that pharmacists can play a vital role in improving health outcomes, while decreasing overall health-care costs.

“I discovered that organizing a conference is like operating a small business,” she said. “The planning process involved a lot of dedication and co-ordination among the committee, professors, presenters, sponsors and the student body. It enabled me to really develop my leadership skills.”

Delegating tasks, supporting the team, working towards a common goal of a successful conference—they were all components of a greater vision: the future of pharmacy.

Travelling scholar

Ms. Elliott’s track record indicates that she may just be a visionary in the making. In the summer of 2014, she was the only student from Newfoundland and Labrador who participated in a Global Vision trade mission to China.

Jasmine Elliott, pictured at right, during the Global Vision trade mission in China.
Jasmine Elliott, pictured at right, during the Global Vision trade mission in China.
Photo: Submitted

Pharmacy representation

She was thirsty to compare health systems in China and Canada. As the only representative of the health-care sector, Ms. Elliott joined 24 other ambassadors who represented education, agriculture and entrepreneurship. Previous to that, Ms. Elliott took part in a mission to Panama and Columbia in 2012, eager to embrace another opportunity to hone her global leadership skills.

“I plan to use my pharmacy background and leadership skill set to help improve outcomes for various patient populations. I believe in the promotion of physical and mental well-being in order to prevent the progression of health issues, and improve the lives of those affected while reducing overall health-care costs.”

She says she cannot provide a detailed description of what her future will look like, but don’t be surprised if you see Jasmine Elliott sitting around the United Nations table some day.

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