Alumni Profile: Kelly Grindrod, PharmD’07, MSc’09

Kelly Grindrod, PharmD’07, MSc’09

Kelly is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, and a clinical pharmacist at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre. Kelly earned a BScPharm from the University of Alberta, a hospital pharmacy residency from the London Health Sciences Centre, and a PharmD, MSc and post-professional fellowship from UBC. She has been at the University of Waterloo since 2011. This year, Kelly was presented with the Canadian Pharmacist of the Year Award, which is given annually by the Canadian Pharmacists Association to recognize a pharmacist who demonstrates leadership and exemplifies the evolution of the pharmacy profession toward an expanded role in health care. 

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

Over the last few years, I developed an online learning platform for pharmacists called Pharmacy5in5.ca. I had the chance to work with a wide variety of experts when building it, including experts in graphic design, adult learning, computer-based education, human computer interaction, and game-based learning. We now have over 10,000 pharmacy professionals using the system across Canada. With the pandemic, we were even able to rapidly create educational content on COVID-19, including how to do a virtual visit, how to provide drugs like methadone to patients quarantined at home, and managing burnout.

How do you stay involved in the community?

I’ve never really stopped seeing patients. When I was at UBC, I was training in the local hospitals, but I worked weekends at a pharmacy in downtown Vancouver. I would see people go from being intubated in the ICU to walking in the front doors of the pharmacy a month later, and becoming long-term clients. It reminded me that hospital stays are such a small time in a person’s life. When I moved to Waterloo, I kept working at a small neighbourhood pharmacy. I’m a full time professor now, but I still work at an inner city clinic. It’s been eye opening to see how systemic barriers impact overall health, such as poverty, trauma, or a lack of access to mental health or addictions services.

What UBC moment are you still talking about? 

The best part of my PharmD was when my classmates and I trained for half marathons. We would go for our long run on Sunday mornings and stop at Grounds For Coffee for a cinnamon bun. Whenever my own grad students go to UBC, I make sure they stop for a cinnamon bun too.

Who has been a major influence or inspiration for you in your career?

My patients. They are the best part of the job and I have met so many wonderful people as a result. Older adults who have been married for 60 or 70 years, people who have gone from being homeless with an opioid use disorder to living in a home and starting a family while with treatment, to people who have lived through significant trauma in a war but who are learning how to rebuild their lives in a new country. There are few other careers I can think of that would allow me to meet such a diverse group of people.