INNOVATION TO APPLICATION 2016 was the result of a chance meeting between two research pharmacists in the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Interconnected through a shared network of community pharmacies, a mutual colleague identified their common and complementary goals and suggested collaboration. The discussion that followed sparked the idea to engage a broader community of healthcare innovators.

Conference Co-ordinator

Nicole Tsao, BSc (Pharm), MSc (Pharm), RPh, PhD Student

Nicole Tsao is a pharmacist currently completing her PhD degree at the Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia. She completed her MSc in pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, with a focus in pharmacoeconomics, and her current PhD research is focused in pharmacoepidemiology and the risk of adverse outcomes of biologic medications.

Nicole has much interest and expertise in conducting research in community pharmacies in BC. Her current research interests include investigating the use of eHealth technology to support pharmacy practice, monitor medication adherence and safety, and facilitate interdisciplinary healthcare delivery. She is a recent recipient of an Rx & D award for interdisciplinary health research, and she is the Principal Investigator of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant for knowledge dissemination of eHealth in pharmacy practice.

Conference Co-ordinator

Mark Kunzli, BSc (Pharm), Executive MBA, RPh

Mark Kunzli is Associate Director & Project Manager of the UBC Sequencing Centre, a practicing pharmacist, and a business consultant. While pursuing his Executive MBA in Healthcare Management at the Sauder School of Business, Mark worked with a team in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences to establish Genomics and Individualized Therapy as a key research initiative, which was realized with the establishment of the UBC Sequencing Centre at the Faculty in 2013.

Mark is passionate about equipping his fellow healthcare practitioners with the ability to use patient genomics to make medication use safer and more effective. He is a Co-Investigator for the "Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in Community Pharmacy" research project, funded by the BC Pharmacy Association and Genome BC, which has collaborated with community pharmacists throughout BC to collect patient samples for exome sequencing and pharmacogenomic analysis. Mark trained and supported pharmacists throughout the project to recruit, educate, consent, and collect saliva samples from 200+ patients from 33 different community pharmacy study sites around the province.


Conference Advisor

Bob Rai is a graduate of the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a Degree in Biochemistry in 1991, and Pharmaceutical Science in 1995. He is an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in operating a string of “The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy” in Greater Vancouver, Canada. In 1998, he and his partner's pioneered and revolutionized the online pharmacy business to the USA. The sales and distribution of prescription medicines online surpassed unprecedented industry growth and as other operators followed suit, the unique business concept became a $2 billion dollar industry across Canada. Bob received “The Medicine Shoppe Canada Professional Achievement Award” for expanding scope of pharmacists’ practise through innovative pilots with Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Ministry of Health. Bob is a member of Alumni UBC Advisory Council representing Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science.

Bob is also Chairman and CEO of Canadian Pacific Global Pharmaceuticals and Chairman of its subsidiary PharmaCanada Inc. Bob had served as President of the Philippines Canada Trade Council (PCTC) for 2006-2007 and held the position of Vice-President from 2004-2006. As President of PCTC, he led a successful Trade Mission to Manila with endorsements from His Excellency Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Honorable Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia and Minister of International Trade and Industry of Canada, David Emerson. Bob serves as Board of Director for Vanc Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Venturi Capitals Inc. In the past he has served on the Board of Director of Perceptronix Medical Inc, a company focused on early cancer detection.

Bob is a prominent and active business figure. He is a Board of Director of Tapestry Foundation for Health Care. Community positions he has held include Former President of the Victoria Drive Business Improvement Association. Likewise he sat as Director of South Hill Business Improvement Association from 2006-2012. He also served as a Board of Director of the South Vancouver Neighborhood House for two years.

Bob is a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service and contribution to Canada. He is Rotarian associated with Rotary Club of Vancouver Fraserview having served as President in 2011-2012. He was awarded “The Paul Harris Fellow Award’ for his contributions to community helping raise funds for Polio, Mental Health and Addictions focussing on the Youth in Community as well as Literacy. His other charitable activities include: Sitting in the Cabinet of "A Night of Miracles" for BC Children's Hospital; An Endowment for the Canada India Center of Excellence at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada; Vancouver Committee of Gold Medal Plates raising money for Canadian Olympic and Para-Olympic Athlete's; A friend of the British Columbia Regiment having participated in The BattleGround Tour 2012 and supported the one in 2015; The Medicine Shoppe's Golf For A Cure which has raised over $250,000 over the past 5 years for charities such as the Michael Cuccione Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.