Alumni Profile: Dr. Linda Hensman, BSc(Pharm)'74

This month the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences presented Dr. Linda Hensman, BSc(Pharm)’74  with the alumni UBC Alumni Builder Award at the faculty’s White Coat ceremony on October 17. Dr. Hensman was recognized for her distinguished leadership and contributions to the Faculty. Dr. Hensman has held clinical, academic and senior administrative positions in both healthcare institutions and universities in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador prior to her retirement. In addition to a bachelor of science in pharmacy degree, she also obtained a PharmD and MBA during her career.

The Alumni Builder Awards were established in 2017 as part of alumni UBC 100, the Alumni Association’s centennial, to recognize alumni who, in their own way, have made important contributions to the success of UBC and its alumni community. The awards are presented by alumni UBC on the recommendation and in partnership with UBC’s faculties, advisory councils, and other leadership groups.

Linda Hensman
Image: Dr. Linda Hensman

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Leading a team that oversaw the planning and redevelopment of health services in St. John’s, NL. This was a multimillion-dollar project, which resulted in the closure of a rehabilitation centre and two hospitals, and the construction of a new child health and rehabilitation centre and integrated services across the three remaining acute care institutions. Lots of challenges (people don’t like change!) but very rewarding working with a diverse group of like-minded health care professionals, planners, architects, engineers and others. A dream job! Also, becoming dean of pharmacy at Memorial University of Newfoundland and having the opportunity to work with faculty members to design and implement an educational outcomes-based curriculum, which ultimately created a new graduate and practitioner for the profession. To see the accomplishments of students during their educational journey and during their careers was and remains very rewarding. I still follow them and love to hear of their achievements and see them getting recognition. Many have influenced practice on a provincial, national and international level. Truly meaningful for me and another dream position! 

How do you stay involved in the community you live in? 

I volunteer with community not-for-profit health services organizations (e.g. seniors resource centre) as a board or committee member. I have been a member of Rotary International for the past 21 years as a board member, doing fundraising and sweat equity projects to advance the ideals of Rotary on both a local and international level. My current club has a wide variety of projects that support our local community through initiatives such as food banks, women’s shelters, regular street cleaning, invasive species removal and tree planting projects. I have also been an executive member of social and craft organizations (e.g. quilting and embroidery guilds). 

What UBC moment are you still talking about?

Yikes, I hate to admit it but when I was on the “boat race” (Beer on a Table) team in 3rd year. I’m not sure how many beers I had to drink (within reason) during the competition, but I do recall that the four hours of classes I had that afternoon went very well – totally relaxed – though I admit to having some trouble reading my notes later!

Who was the biggest influence in your career?

My father. He was supportive, a great role model, provided wise counsel and loved me unconditionally. He encouraged me to pursue higher education to ensure I could have a good career and that I could be independent if I chose to be (both of which I achieved!).