Young Leader in Pharmacy Taj Dhinsa: “I’m a nerd and I enjoy working with large data sets.”


Education: BSc.Phm., University of Toronto

Current role: Senior Category Manager, Health, Walmart

What excites you about being a pharmacist?

I grew up in a rural community that didn’t have great access to healthcare but the pharmacists helped to bridge that gap. Pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals, and I wanted to, in my role as a pharmacist, be able to innovate and solve the problem of access whether it is at scale or at a local level.

When you graduated, what did you envision for your future?

I really didn’t have a vision for the future but I knew I wanted to be accessible and in a fast-paced environment so a career in retail seemed like a good fit.

How has your career evolved since your graduation?

I have learned a lot since graduating but of the most important things I have learned over the years is that there is a massive psychological component of healthcare and how patients engage with the system. It is important that patients define what accessibility looks like to them and for the patient to be at the centre of the model instead of the practitioner. I have also learned that team-based care increases the likelihood of patient engagement and improved outcomes. I now work on a team that works to provide whole health solutions such optical services, dental services in additional to pharmacy and clinical services within Walmart stores—broad swipes to address the access component of healthcare.

How would you describe a great day at work?

I’m a nerd and I enjoy working with large data sets, so I would say, using data to uncover patient pain points and working with the team to solve those points of friction is quite rewarding.

How important is mentoring in your career?

I would argue that mentoring has been the difference maker in my career and I’ve had the chance to learn from many great people over the years. Mentorship has allowed me to explore perspectives that are different than mine and help me to uncover blind spots. It is easy to lose sight of the big picture when you are caught up in the day-to-day work, but mentorship often provides the opportunity to zoom out and reflect on the ‘why’ behind the work.

As a dynamic leader in the profession, what continues to drive you?

Most of healthcare doesn’t occur in the doctor’s office—approximately 40% is the social determinant of health. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to support patients with all components of their health, and it is great to be a part of a team that focuses on upstream interventions closely tied to the social determinants of health. 

How are young leaders paving the way for changes in the pharmacy profession?

Healthcare is ripe for innovation. Young leaders are thinking differently about their role within the healthcare system, innovating and helping to evolve patient care from a whole health perspective.

What advice would you give to new pharmacy graduates?

If you are bored, that’s your cue to change course and try something new. Find a mentor who can support you on your learning journey and don’t be afraid of trying things that are completely out of your comfort zone or failing as that’s the best way to learn.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *