Ali Damani

Top 40 Under 40 2017

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 39

Job Title: Vice President of Operations, Medicentres Family Care Clinics

Why He’s Top 40: He works to shift the focus in health care to the patient

Ali Damani was a pharmacist freshly out of the University of Alberta when an interaction with a customer made a major impact on his career. A lady requested pain medication but, after Damani checked her file, he noticed a concerning pattern whereby she’d continuously refill her prescription at multiple locations.

He helped her set up an appointment with her family physician rather than fulfilling her request; two months later, she returned to tell him he’d saved her life. She’d become addicted to pain medication and he was the first to do something about it.

Since that time, Damani has moved on to be the vice president of operations for Medicentres Family Care Clinics, ensuring 30 clinics across the country run smoothly. But that early lesson remains front of mind and continues to inform his life and work. “It’s just treating people with empathy, I think,” he says.

Damani has worked to shift the way health care operates by focusing on the patient. He’s decreased physician turnover and increased the number of doctors offering appointments, especially on weekends and evenings. He’s helped put a policy in place where pharmacists can give flu vaccines so that people can get the shot anywhere from eight in the morning until 10 at night, making the free vaccine that much more accessible.

“In the past, a health-care provider’s value was seen as worth more than [a patient’s] value. And now, I don’t think it’s that way,” says Damani.

Damani has always been active in the community and was a board member of the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association until 2016, and was an advisor with the Alberta Committee for Citizens with Disabilities. He’s always been eager to be involved with community locally and abroad – he volunteered at a clinic in Pakistan, and assisted with distributing medicines to those affected in the 2004 Thailand tsunami. He calls those experiences a “kick in the pants” that clarified the importance of focusing on making a positive impact.

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