Recent PharmD Graduate
How did you first hear about OPA and why did you decide to join?
During my first week of pharmacy school, we had an event where we learned about the organizations that we can join. I went into the event with the intention of figuring out which organization was directly responsible for expanding the abilities of pharmacists in Ontario. I was directed to the booth for OPA where it quickly became apparent that this was the organization I needed to become a part of.
What is your favourite part about being an OPA member?
Being a member of OPA allows me to stay connected with the individuals who are at the forefront of the numerous efforts and initiatives that are taking place to advance the role of the pharmacist in our healthcare system.
How has OPA helped you in your pharmacy career?
OPA has been the most important part of my pharmacy career. It has allowed me to build my leadership skills, broaden my network, and play my part in advancing the role of the pharmacist in our healthcare system.
I’ll expand on how it has developed me as a leader.
Deciding to become involved with OPA was the single best decision I made in my pharmacy career. I always knew I wanted to advance the pharmacy profession, but in becoming involved with OPA I was given such a strong platform to advocate for the profession. In co-creating and serving on the Student Advisory Council, I gained leadership experience that continues to help me to this day.
Tell us about your experience with OPA’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC)?
I served as the Chair of the OPA University of Waterloo Chapter during the SAC’s first year: 2019/2020. This was a unique experience as the committee was being run for the first time following our motions at the 2019 AGM. With this new committee in place, we went to work to create new types of events and forms of involvement for Ontario pharmacy students. This was a great learning experience for everyone because it involved creating things from scratch. For example, we organized the first Student Open Forum for students to have the opportunity to directly ask questions to OPA leadership.
During the middle of the committee year, the pandemic happened. So in addition to creating this new student structure, we had to deal with the fact that overnight the world had changed. This was also a good learning experience for everyone because we learnt how to adjust a newly formed structure in the middle of a fairly chaotic time. Notably, we were able to provide advice to pharmacy students during the COVID-19 pandemic and we were able to advocate on behalf of our student colleagues when the PEBCs had been delayed.
Has being an OPA member positively impacted your perspective of the pharmacy profession in any way?
The best way to grow our passion for pharmacy is to become a member of the association that pushes the boundaries of pharmacists’ capabilities.
When you join OPA, you are pulled into a world that allows your passion for pharmacy to reach a new level. Through the individuals I have been fortunate enough to meet through OPA, my understanding and vision of the profession has developed far beyond what I imagined possible. Being able to bounce ideas off of like-minded individuals is invaluable.
What OPA membership benefits are most valuable to you? How have they helped you in your practice and/or personal life?
The #1 benefit of being a member of OPA is watching my profession grow in terms of scope as a direct result of OPA’s advocacy efforts. This was exemplified during the COVID-19 pandemic when we acquired the ability to test for and vaccinate against COVID-19.
OPA has benefited me in numerous ways. It has provided me with personal liability insurance during and after pharmacy school. I have been able to save money when travelling with Enterprise or VIA Rail Canada, and in maintaining strong exercise habits through my Goodlife membership.
Have you attended any of OPA’s conferences? What was your favourite part?
I attended the 2018, 2019, and 2021 OPA conferences.
At every OPA conference, there is a strong sense of community and that we are all working on something that is bigger than ourselves. Everyone is happy to connect, share ideas, and build lasting friendships. Some of my strongest personal and professional relationships have been formed at these conferences.
About George Daskalakis
George is a bright leader, innovator, and researcher. During his time as Chair of the OPA University of Waterloo Student Chapter, he led a motion to implement a new student engagement model, to strengthen relations between students and OPA. George is recognized for inspiring his colleagues to advocate for the profession and for promoting pharmacy innovation. Utilizing his foresight to help solve the gap between technology and healthcare, he co-founded the Technology in Pharmacy Network at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. The group successfully initiated HackRx, Canada’s first pharmacy and technology-focused hackathon.
George is a 2021 PharmD graduate of the University of Waterloo, and the recipient of various awards including OPA’s 2021 Student of Distinction Award, CAPSI’s Guy Genest Passion for Pharmacy Award, CPhA’s Centennial Leadership Award, and the Pharmasave Business Competition Award.