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August 1st, 2017 · No Comments

Jim Snowdon receives lifetime achievement award

PHOTO BY NEILAND BRISSENDEN/GLEANER NEWS: Jim Snowdon, shown in front of his Bloor Street West pharmacy, is known for patient care.

By Geremy Bordonaro

Dr. James “Jim” Snowdon has been pharmacist to the Annex for 47 years. Serving clients from his eponymous pharmacy with a patient-first, innovative attitude, he’s as likely to be seen chatting and smiling with his customers as he is behind a dispensary.

“I still get up every morning and I want to go and do it one more time”—Jim Snowdon

It’s a commitment that the Ontario Pharmacists Association has recognized, bestowing Snowdon with its Lifetime Achievement Award last month.

Snowdon has never been in it for the awards, and the recognition is a validation that he has been doing the right thing for all the people he serves.

“It’s all about meeting the people and serving their needs, whatever those needs may be,” Snowdon said. “Sometimes it has nothing to do with pharmacy. Sometimes we’re more like a traffic cop. They ask for an opinion on something and we lead them in the right direction. It’s being that first contact person, being that person that they rely on.”

Snowdon’s family has been in the pharmacy business for over 100 years. This history is easy to see when you enter the pharmacy, where family memorabilia lines the walls. The history of medicine is also on display: a museum near the counter showcases all sorts of old-fashioned medical tools. In the centre, in pride of place, is a pillar with diplomas for himself, his father, and his grandfather.

“I’m very much entrenched in the pharmacy world,” explains Snowdon. “Lots of folks get up in the morning and don’t want to go wherever they’ve got to go. I still get up every morning and I want to go and do it one more time.”

It’s an enthusiasm that doesn’t go unnoticed; in fact, it permeates the space.

Snowdon’s office — in the front of the store — is marked by openness and colourful decorations, so patients are immediately put at ease with a friendly attitude and welcoming spirit.

According to long-time Snowdon staff pharmacist Jelena Sergejev, this attitude is a cornerstone of Snowdon’s ideals.

“This pharmacy is very patient-care oriented,” said Sergejev. “He’s actually the leader of this in the profession. He was my mentor. He’s so focused on providing the patient with care and giving back to the profession.”

She is just one of the many student interns that Snowdon has mentored over the years, igniting in them a passion for patient care and service.

“He’s a boss but he’s not bossy. He’s very gentle. And he brings that to the work place,” Sergejev said. “Whoever works here will end up working here a long time. He brings the best out of us, and out of everybody.”

But it’s not just a kind attitude that Dr. Snowdon brings to the craft; he has led the pharmacy profession throughout his career. He was one of the first pharmacists to start offering flu shots to his customers back in 2010, long before other pharmacies started offering the vaccine.

“He’s been at the beginning of so many things,” said Anneke Medema-Allan, who has been working for Snowdon for nearly thirty years. “He went back to school to get his Pharm D [doctorate in pharmacy]. At the time he said ‘this is where pharmacy is going to be going’. And darned if two years ago the University of Toronto said pharmacists have to have their Pharm D.”

Since Snowdon has been in the pharmacy game for so long it might be expected that he would grow complacent but this is the furthest thing from the truth. He is always looking for a new way to be innovative.

“For us we’ve always tried to drag the ball forward ourselves,” Snowdon said. “I’ve always had that curiosity and desire to stretch the world, to be ahead of the curve, to do something new and good for people.”


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