Collaborative Care Award 2023: Fatemeh Soleiman-Panah

Updated on February 1, 2024 (Originally posted on December 6, 2023) The Tablet

Fatemeh Soleiman-Panah
Collaborative Care Award
Owner, Pharmacy Manager, Sina Pharmacy
Vancouver, B.C.

Throughout pharmacy school, pharmacist Fatemeh Soleiman-Panah was fascinated by the idea of delivering customized health care for patients using compounded medications.

Even in a large city like Vancouver, she found many prescribers were unfamiliar with custom compounding options outside of commercially available products. Shortly after opening Sina Pharmacy in 2014, she decided that needed to change. Taking inspiration from the preceptor who introduced her to compounding at the University of British Columbia, she approached dozens of doctors’ clinics in and around the downtown Vancouver area.

“There’s a huge gap in the knowledge of doctors and the training they’ve received in compounding. I saw an opportunity to be a different pharmacist who would collaborate with them and be a source they can rely on for evidence-based recommendations,” Soleiman-Panah says.

Most doctors were very receptive to listening, perhaps even more than she had anticipated.

“At one clinic, the talk was meant to be half an hour, but it ended up going on for two hours,” she says.

Those initial visits to doctors’ clinics have blossomed into close relationships. What impressed those doctors was Soleiman-Panah’s enthusiasm, the in-depth knowledge she brought, and her emphasis on always using credible references and research-based treatment options in the recommendations she makes.

Fatemeh Soleiman-Panah

Fatemeh, owner of Sina Pharmacy in Vancouver, is receiving recognition for her unwavering dedication to providing compassionate and affordable healthcare. Her commitment to community service, patient education, and innovative technological solutions, along with her tireless efforts to serve a diverse clientele, distinguishes Sina Pharmacy as one of the top natural pharmacies in Vancouver.

Some doctors liked her so much they even decided to move in, bringing their practices into her pharmacy and seeing patients in one of her consultation rooms. Eventually, there was enough demand that she ended up converting her in-pharmacy organic juice bar into even more consultation rooms, so physicians could have more space.

“The way it happened: I went to speak with a doctor at a nearby clinic about our compounding options and services, and he said he wasn’t happy where he was. He offered to see patients if we had a consultation room in our pharmacy,” Soleiman-Panah says.

“Another doctor, during COVID, she needed a space to do an allergy serum. I said of course she could use the space. Their clinic was closed due to the pandemic at the time, and she didn’t have a space. She ended up moving here.”

Today, her pharmacy – now more aptly named Sina Health Centre – is home to seven general physicians and three specialists.

“I lean on her a lot and her expertise. There are endless ways she helps us. Any medication related question we have she can usually answer it or knows where to find the answer,” says Dr. Rayn Kingan, MD, a doctor at Sina. “Most people say they really trust her. They trust her advice.”

She’s proud to call many of these doctors her friends.

“You have to first be friends with someone before you can collaborate with them,” Soleiman-Panah said. “All of our team here, we are very good friends. We have a lot of respect for each other, and I treat all of them like family. And I think they really see that.”

Even the patients notice the collaborative nature of Sina Health Centre.

“She plays a vital role in coordinating my health care. What I like about Sina Pharmacy is how the staff, the medical doctors and the pharmacists work together as a team,” says Waseem Al-Nuaimi, a patient at Sina.

For Soleiman-Panah, she wouldn’t want to approach her practice any other way.

“It’s that satisfaction. I’m doing something positive and I’m making a contribution that’s helping the doctor, helping the patient and sometimes it helps our pharmacy too,” she says.

“It’s the satisfaction of making a difference, and everyone in the process is benefitting.”

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.