She's been called the mastermind behind the growing travel health clinics in the Sobeys Pharmacy group but her reasons for her interest in travel health are far from devious.
Pharmacist Lisa Woodill has had an enormous love of travel her entire life. As a child she travelled North America with her family and was inspired by her parents' slide shows of their trips to Europe. As an adult she has visited every continent with the exception of Antarctica. As a seasoned traveller to far off places that often have illnesses that rarely make their way to Canadian shores, Lisa knew the importance of preventative health care before leaving her home. However, she quickly discovered that there were few places that she could access that care.
While on maternity leave from her pharmacy job, she decided to take the first steps to increase access to travel health care in Nova Scotia. She commenced an intensive self-study program on travel health and underwent a grueling examination process to gain certification in travel health. Upon returning from her maternity leave, and with certification in hand, Lisa approached her employers with her idea for starting a travel health clinic at the Sobeys Mumford Road location in Halifax. Her employer showed their faith in Lisa by supporting her in the launch of a pilot travel health clinic. A pharmacist lead collaborative practice, having a doctor and nurse also as part of the clinic team, the clinic took off in popularity. Its success leads to the opening of an addition five travel clinics in the pharmacy group across Canada, opened under Lisa's guidance.
The clinics provide important counselling and advice on how to stay healthy while travelling, immunizations and preventative prescriptions. Sessions are private and customized for each traveller based on health, location of travel, accommodations, and activities that the traveller plans to do. There are a number of factors that a traveller may not think of that could impact their health while travelling.
When asked what has surprised her most working at the clinic she said, "The number of people who are not up-to-date on their routine adult immunizations such as tetanus and diphtheria. There is a gap in care there."
Lisa has recently been promoted to the position of Director of Professional Developing at Sobeys Pharmacy Group, after serving 13 years as a Regional Pharmacy Manager, but her love of travel remains and she is still very much involved in the travel clinics.
Lisa's one piece of advice to those thinking about going on a trip: "Travel is exciting. Get out there and do it. And take the time to do the research about where you are going. Talk to a health care professional to get advice on how to stay healthy and safe on your trip."
After all, nobody wants to spend their vacation ill or in a hospital or bring an unwanted memento home from their trip.
If you are interested in learning more about gaining certification in travel health, visit http://www.istm.org