New Practitioner Award 2018: Mario Linaksita

Updated on May 29, 2018 (Originally posted on May 26, 2018) The Tablet

Title Pharmacy Manager
Workplace University Pharmacy
Location University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Every day that Mario Linaksita goes to work, he’s stepping into a little slice of history – of Vancouver and his own family.

As pharmacy manager of University Pharmacy at the University of British Columbia, he manages the daily operations of a community pharmacy that has been operating on campus since 1951, and within his own family since 1986.

“I grew up in the back [of the pharmacy], and now I’m in charge of the dispensary,” Linaksita laughs.

Truly a family business – his father along with a handful of extended family members practiced pharmacy – pharmacy was always the topic of conversation at Christmas gatherings growing up. But Linaksita is not simply relying on his father’s legacy to guide his career. Armed with passion, ambition and, what he credits as invaluable mentorship from pharmacist and College of Pharmacists of BC Board member Mona Kwong, Linaksita is paving his own path in pharmacy.

After graduating from UBC in 2012, Linaksita spent several years working at pharmacies in downtown Vancouver to gain experience before taking over the managerial reigns at University Pharmacy in 2015, bringing with him fresh perspective and creative business ideas.

Linaksita struck up a collaboration with UBC Athletics to provide a comprehensive, tailored program for its athletes, supporting the program with electrolytes and amino acid supplements, nutritional counselling, flu vaccinations, topical medication compounding and rehabilitation bracing, among other service offerings. The pharmacy will also collaborate with the new FIFA-accredited Sports Medicine Clinic on campus, which involves athletes with various long-term conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

In addition, the pharmacy is now the certified yellow fever and travel vaccination clinic on campus, and a regular collaborator with UBC Hospital, providing annual flu vaccinations to students and residents. With a full range of home health supplies, such as long handled reachers, sponges, compression stockings and more, the pharmacy is also an official support to Vancouver’s OASIS (OsteoArthritis Service Integration System) program, given UBC Hospital’s growing administration of hip and knee surgeries.

“Retail is changing really rapidly,” says Linaksita. “What separates a brick and mortar store from online? [A pharmacist’s] interpersonal skills and ability to connect different ideas mean more than a few pills to solve a patient’s problem.”

Linaksita’s passion for pharmacy’s future role in health care continues outside of the workplace, as a founding member of Pharmacy Leaders of Tomorrow, a group that serves as an essential hub for new and recent pharmacy grads. Through monthly events featuring keynote speakers such as Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, the CEO of MEC and the head physician of VGH Hospital, members gather to network, share best practices, acquire leadership skills and pursue professional excellence.

“Pharmacy is not an easy profession sometimes,” says Linaksita. “There can be a lot of doom and gloom, but there is still a lot of potential for the profession to survive and thrive.”

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.