Ben Gant Innovative Practice Award 2024: Cecilia Gozun

Updated on May 31, 2024 (Originally posted on May 15, 2024) The Tablet

Cecilia Gozun
Ben Gant Innovative Practice Award
Pharmacy Manager, Save-on-Foods Pharmacy #2267
Surrey, B.C.


Over the course of a career, a pharmacist working in British Columbia will likely witness many changes to the profession. 

After graduating from pharmacy school in the Philippines, Cecilia Gozun arrived in Canada, starting as a relief pharmacist in 2006. Since then, she has seen the profession in B.C. become enabled to administer vaccines by injection, prescribe for minor ailments, and with advancements in medical device technology, become experts in teaching patients to leverage technological advancements for the betterment of their health.

These days, Gozun — the 2024 recipient of the Ben Gant Innovative Practice Award — serves as the pharmacy manager at Save-on-Foods Pharmacy #2267, a relatively new location in Surrey.

Here, she is relied on as a technology guru when it comes to training fellow pharmacists and patients on continuous glucose sensors (CGM). 

“We have been doing regular CGM trainings weekly for approximately two years now and are dispensing around 30 to 60 CGMs from our pharmacy on a monthly basis,” she said. “I wanted to introduce CGM to our patients because I know they will benefit a lot from using this technology. It will help them have more control on their sugar readings, which in turn helps them manage their diabetes properly. CGM provides my patients with 24-hour monitoring of glucose information, without requiring multiple fingertips poking, which patients get tired of doing. 

“CGM can also be connected to doctors’ offices, which helps them decide the right care plan. They can also be connected to a family member or caregiver, giving both parties the peace of mind to be able to see what the patient’s blood sugar is at any particular moment.”

Cecilia Gozun

Cecilia Gozun, pharmacy manager at Save-on-Foods Pharmacy #2267, is regarded as a technology guru among her peers in the use of continuous glucose monitoring devices.

This affinity for understanding technology has resulted in relationships with other health care providers who work in the field of diabetes management. 

“We were given a very good opportunity to work closely with Dr. Akshay Jain, MD, who operates an endocrinology clinic next door. He wanted to work with a diabetes educator and came up to our counter here, looking for someone that would be able to work with his patients. That was the start of our collaboration,” Gozun said. 

"He wanted me to help the patients learn how to put on and use their sensors before they went to his clinic. We also do A1C and lipid panel testing for those who haven’t had their labs done in the last three months, which serves as a valuable decision-making tool for them.”

Throughout her career, Gozun estimates that she has worked at more than 50 locations within the Save-on-Foods chain. She’s seen and done it all, spending the first five years with the company travelling as a relief pharmacist to numerous stores throughout British Columbia and Alberta. Her desire, however, was always to work at a permanent location in the Lower Mainland. 

She soon got her wish. After spending a year as a staff pharmacist in 100 Mile House, she was dispatched first to the Newton neighbourhood in Surrey, then to Cloverdale, plus a brief period as an assistant manager in White Rock, before being offered a pharmacy manager posting in Pitt Meadows. 

“It was a new store in Pitt Meadows and I wanted to introduce our pharmacy to the community. The doctors didn’t know us yet. There weren’t a lot of pharmacies in Pitt Meadows at the time. I decided to introduce myself to all the pharmacies and all the medical clinics, and I think it worked,” Gozun said.

Around 2018, Gozun went to obtain her diabetes educator certification. In part, it was because patients would often arrive at the pharmacy with questions about diabetes management, and she wanted to be better equipped to help these patients. 

It was around the same time that she was moved from her Pitt Meadows store to manage a pharmacy in Surrey, at a location that was much busier. This store eventually moved to her current location, at King George Junction, where she continued its management.

“My concept of pharmacy innovation entails ensuring accessible health care by elevating the roles of pharmacy staff to provide uninterrupted, patient-centered services,” she said. 

“This includes expanding the responsibilities of assistants beyond pill counting, while empowering pharmacists to offer education, prescribing and immunizations."

It’s about pushing the boundaries. If she could give former self advice with the knowledge she has now, it would be to challenge herself.

“Continue to challenge yourself to be the best while embracing all the priceless lessons from your mentors along the way. Always be grateful and stay grounded.” 

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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.