Health Care Provider Spotlight: Robyn Despins

Robyn Despins is a pharmacist by trade and a leader at heart. Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, she earned her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from University of Saskatchewan and has built a meaningful career as a pharmacist as well as an entrepreneur and healthcare executive.

Robyn was first employed by an independent pharmacy in her hometown after graduation where she had the opportunity follow a keen interest in the big-picture clinical management side of a pharmaceutical practice, performing medication review, counselling and education, smoking cessation promotion, immunization, minor ailment prescribing, and collaborating with physicians. As the pharmacy grew, so did her leadership and management capabilities. She also worked with a non-profit network of health professionals that provided essential services to rural and First Nations communities across Saskatchewan, where she was an integrated member of a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, as well as pharmacy and other health professionals. Witnessing the value in a collaborative approach to patient care and evolving toward an executive role within the pharmacy were the most formative experiences of her career.

Robyn joined Oak Medical Arts in 2020 as a pharmacist but quickly progressed to management and senior leadership positions, now overseeing operations in all six Oak locations. Robyn is proud to work for a local organization constantly adapting and innovating to expand the way it provides healthcare.

“Oak embodies everything I believe most about ideal practice and delivery of healthcare, and everything I hope for the future of healthcare in Canada. Areas within healthcare often operate independent of one another, seemingly working in silos. There is so much theory around building collaborative healthcare teams and providing patient-centered care, but often your doctor or nurse practitioner, pharmacist, massage therapist, chiropractor, and others are not set up to work together. Oak is structured to give our various providers the opportunity to collaborate and provide multi-disciplinary, patient-centered care, and I think it is incredibly exciting to continue to explore, expand, and build this model of care!”

Since relocating to Thunder Bay, Robyn has quickly fallen in love with its beautiful scenery, convenient lifestyle, and vibrant small business community. Dubbed ‘wildly ambitious and highly caffeinated,’ Robyn’s hobbies include curling (she used to compete), spin class (she is an instructor), and the finer things, such as coffee, wine, and delicious food. She is a moonlighting consultant and speaker in the pharmacy realm, as well as a Board Director for the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan. She opened Carte Blanche Café with her partner in 2020 and continues to enjoy the challenges of entrepreneurship.

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