Bowl of Hygeia Award
Pharmacy Manager, Beyond Health Pharmacy
For Joravar Hera, growing up in Duncan on Vancouver Island, volunteering was ingrained in his South Asian upbringing. So was hard work.
As a teenager, his family moved to Abbotsford and began blueberry farming. He spent his summers working in the fields laboring until sunset. Meanwhile, Hera and his family volunteered their time cooking and serving meals at the local Sikh temple.
After graduating from the University of British Columbia’s faculty of pharmacy in 2020, Hera was ready to give back to his community in a more meaningful way by bringing his experience as a pharmacist to people who may have difficulty accessing pharmacy services.
He is known to set up influenza clinics the local Sikh temple, conduct diabetes educational clinics and test blood sugars for individuals who may not be aware of their risk or that they should be screened. And he’s advocated to have Ozempic® materials translated into Punjabi for patients with diabetes.
“I don't just have to help out in the kitchen or something like that. I can actually use something that I've learned to educate the people in my community,” Hera says.
Many who attend the local temple say they feel more comfortable asking him questions about their health. Hera speaks Punjabi and understands their culture.
Harjeet Mander says his mother, Surjit and father, Joginder, often feel there are barriers for them to go to a pharmacy in person. From needing to speak to their pharmacist in Punjabi to having someone who understands their culture, they feel they have that with Hera.
“Here they feel so comfortable just approaching him,” Harjeet says. “It feels like he's just another person at the temple, and that they can relate to him personally.”
Joravar Hera, a Bowl of Hygeia Award nominee at Beyond Pharmacy, excels in patient care by organizing flu clinics, offering diabetes education to the South Asian community, collaborating with healthcare teams, and serving as a mentor for pharmacy students while volunteering at the Sikh temple for health presentations in Punjabi, emphasizing diabetes prevention and management.
But it’s not only the Sikh community that feels Hera takes extra time for. His patients at Beyond Health Pharmacy say he goes the extra mile for them.
From visiting patients at home to helping them put on diabetic sensors, Hera and his team believe the work of community pharmacists is to be out in the community.
One patient, who had cancer, was in and out of hospital often meaning doctors were prescribing her different medications, which became confusing for her. Hera worked with her doctor and nurses to provide blister packs of medication. Hera set up having a nurse visit the patient daily and provide feedback to him and the patient’s doctor.
Collaborating with the local nurses and physicians on complex patient care is something Hera finds incredibly rewarding. Patients enjoy it, too.
“If there are any questions, the two of them work together and keep my health going as it should,” patient Max Warner says.
Dale Thandi’s wife was bedridden. Hera visited their home to provide her with her COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, which meant as a vulnerable patient she was able to be better protected against the viruses.
“I find that he went very out of the way to do that,” Thandi says. “He’s an exceptional human being.”