Dion named Tuality’s first Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist

December 29, 2011

For immediate release
Contact:  Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654

Marie Dion, an 11-year veteran of Tuality Healthcare’s pharmacy department, was recently designated as a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist by the state of Oregon. She is the first Tuality pharmacist to be granted certification in this, or any, specialty.

Dion said the difference between a pharmacist and a board certified pharmacist is similar to the difference between a medical doctor and a specialist in a field such as cardiology, or pulmonology. “I am very proud of it,” she said of the certification. “I’m the first one (at Tuality) but I don’t think I will be the last one. It’s becoming more and more popular.”

To become board certified, she said, you need to study a lot, have a number of years of experience and take and pass a very demanding test. She took a preparatory course before the exam, and attended a three-day oncology education conference in San Antonio where” every type of cancer was reviewed from a pharmacy point of view.”

Her supervisor, Director of Pharmacy Brian Dotter, is proud of her accomplishments. “She has dedicated her time to specializing her training, improving her knowledge and skills and providing optimal care in the area of oncology,” he said.

At Tuality, Dion works largely with the Ambulatory Care department and the Tuality Hematology and Oncology Clinic. She receives orders from a physician, reviews the medication and the intended patient and lets the treatment run its course. She decided about three years ago that she would specialize in oncology. “I found the field very interesting and rewarding from the personal aspect of it,” she said. “Plus, a lot is happening in oncology.”

The biggest problem she faces as an oncology pharmacist is the shortage of cancer-fighting drugs. It’s a national problem that nearly all hospital pharmacists are facing.

“There is not one week that goes by when we put in our order that we aren’t short a drug,” she said.

She credits Tuality pharmacy purchasing agent Mary Lewis with finding supplies of these cancer drugs that are in short supply. “She does a tremendous job tracking down these high-demand drugs,” Dion said of Lewis. “She does a great job in helping us prevent any disruption in patient treatment.”

Dion said the pharmacy field came naturally for her because both of her parents were employed in healthcare.

“Pharmacy is a nice combination of working in healthcare, working with patients and making a difference,” she said. “It’s a challenge every day because you are learning new things every day.”

To watch a Tuality Healthcare video on Marie Dion, go to: