Pharmacy’s Rising Stars

We reveal our readers’ selections as the 2021 Rising Stars of Pharmacy

Our readers have spoken!

We asked our readers to nominate a pharmacist or pharmacists who, regardless of age, fit the early career pharmacist definition (no more than 10 years of pharmacy practice experience post registration).

We asked you to tell us about the innovations, new ideas, techniques, approaches and skills these outstanding younger pharmacists apply to their pharmacy practice.

The response from readers was overwhelming. We were extremely pleased by the quantity, and especially the quality of the entries we received.

From our point of view, as well as acknowledging the contributions and endeavours of these future leaders of the profession, this campaign has brought these outstanding practitioners to our attention, in some cases for the first time.

Thank you to all who took the time to nominate entrants, and thank you to all those nominated for all your hard work and efforts. I hope this shows you’re already being noticed.

These are our 2021 Rising Stars of Pharmacy: (in alphabetical order)

Dr Wern Chai (Brian Chia)

Lecturer, Clinical & Health Sciences, University of South Australia

What you said: “Dr Wern is a pharmacist and is the strength of the pharmacology course that he teaches at the University of South Australia. As pharmacy students, we think he should be recognised as one of the rising stars for having a huge and positive impact on our learning.”

“Very knowledgeable lecturer who can bring practical information to make the content relevant to current clinical settings. He is very understanding of student’s needs and is the most inspiring pharmacist I have ever met.”

“He should be recognised for his contribution to the pharmacy profession and in science; his excellence in teaching and research into new antibiotics.”

Esa Chen

Research pharmacist and PhD candidate at Monash University

What you said: “Esa is an ECP with extensive research experience, currently undertaking a PHD, with a passion for improving medication use in older people. She was recently elected to the PSA VIC branch committee and last year was selected as the VIC ECP of the year.”

“This year she has started an online pharmacy book club that encourages pharmacists to think about issues outside of pharmacy, such as domestic violence, and how pharmacists can be advocates in different policy areas.”

“Victorian ECP chair, newly elected vice president of Victorian PSA branch committee, extensive research experience, completing her PhD in 2021, fantastic passionate ECP.”

Dr Jack Collins

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Sydney Pharmacy School

What you said: “Jack is an exceptional early career pharmacist. He is a community pharmacist at a leading pharmacy in Sydney (Nick Logan Pharmacist Advice) and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sydney, investigating pharmacists’ roles in supporting people living with severe and persistent mental illness.

He is a rising star in the pharmacy practice research arena with an impressive research track record at a very early stage in his career, he is a fantastic teacher to pharmacy students and a great mentor to other young pharmacists.”

Olivia Collenette

Community pharmacist and PSA ACT branch vice-president and ECPWG chair, PDL NSW/ACT Local Advisory Committee

What you said: “An early career community pharmacist in Canberra with extensive experience in organisational roles. She has been elected to the ACT PSA branch committee for the second time and is a PDL officer as well. Through these roles she has been involved in a lot of advocacy for the profession, albeit mostly behind the scenes. She is also trained as a diabetes educator and will soon be credentialed.”

“ACT PSA vice-president, also works with PDL, Pharmacy Council, Monash University, wears many hats while working full time in community pharmacy.”

Dr Sarira El-Den

Lecturer at the School of Pharmacy, University of Sydney, and a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Master Instructor

What you said: “Sarira completed her pharmacy training at Charles Darwin Uni in 2013 and since then has set about creating a fantastic contribution our profession—especially in the area of expanded roles for pharmacists in supporting people living with mental health problems.”

“Sarira is an accredited Mental Health First Aid instructor and has trained thousands of pharmacists and pharmacy students in this critical skill. She has been a regular contributor to pharmacy conferences as a speaker and a national counsellor for APSA”.

“Sarira is one of the investigators on the landmark PharMIbridge trial investigating the role of community pharmacy in supporting people living with severe mental health problems.”

Kate Fulford

GP pharmacist and researcher

What you said: “Kate is a practicing GP pharmacist in Perth’s CBD whose interests lie in in improving medicine use in elderly and vulnerable populations by increasing education and support during transitions of care. Her special interest in chronic disease has seen her take on further qualifications as a diabetes educator, to further the work of GP Pharmacist’s and improve quality use of medicines.”

“She is a senior research assistant in an NHMRC funded research project aiming to improve brain health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.”

“Kate has been a consultant pharmacist with Dementia Training Australia. She has developed educational programs for health professionals focusing on improving understanding of dementia care, and has overseen the development of an app that optimises the use of antipsychotic medications in people with dementia.”

James Lester

Community pharmacist/manager, Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland branch committee member

What you said: “Pharmacy Guild branch committee member, member of the Sunshine Coast PHN clinical council. Partner and general manager of John Moffat pharmacies. His work with the Sunshine Coast PHN clinical council provides good advocacy for the role of pharmacists in the community in a GP dominated organisation. He is also active in promoting regional and rural pharmacy and small pharmacies.”

“Has a strong clinical focus with a grad cert in clinical pharmacy and a pharmacist representative to the sunshine coast clinical council on the PHN. He also is a pharmacy owner and sunshine coast representative on the pharmacy guild qld branch committee. Involved in the initial pharmacies rolling out covid vaccine.”

“Has been a leading advocate on pharmacists practicing at full scope. He is also in the first tier of pharmacist to vaccinate COVID-19 vaccines in Qld. He is the Sunshine Coast representative of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch Committee.”

Alicia Martin

Pharmacist at Capital Chemist Wanniassa, ACT, PSA branch committee member

What you said: “Alicia is an ECP with a range of pharmacy leadership experience despite only being registered for two years. She was both an executive director of NAPSA and president of CaSPA for two years while studying and has just recently been elected to the ACT PSA branch committee.”

“She has published research into gender balance in pharmacy leadership and champions more diverse representation. She is currently practicing as a community pharmacist with the infamous Wanni White Coats and heads their sleep apnoea service… On top of this she is learning Auslan in order to better communicate with deaf people and is currently studying a Cert IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs to further her knowledge in this area.”

“An early career community pharmacist from Canberra with a strong passion for the profession as can be seen on her twitter feed. She staunchly defended the profession recently when the ALLIANCE trial was misrepresented in the media and I was proud to see her engaging with a range of people to dispel the misunderstandings. She was also recently elected to the ACT PSA branch committee and has previously been highly involved in student organisations.”

Lily Pham

Research assistant, Sydney Pharmacy School

What you said: “An early career pharmacist and research assistant in the Sydney Pharmacy School who is a pharmacist clinician, teacher and researcher on the rise. She is actively involved in the PharMIbridge trial (pharmacist supporting people with mental health problems) and exploring perinatal depression screening.”

“Lily was elected to PSA NSW branch committee and has served in the Early Career Pharmacist committee for many years. In 2019, Lily was the first graduate of the Sydney Pharmacy Leaders Program at the University of Sydney.”

Tim Stewart

Men’s Health pharmacist at Men’s Health Downunder, Cooleman Court Pharmacy, ACT

What you said: “For his exceptional work in men’s urological health. Tim works with hundreds of patients nationally from his Canberra base assisting them with life post prostate cancer diagnosis, surgery and treatment, filling a large support void.”

“Tim has been working with men and their partners in the management of their urological and andrologocial health now since 2017 and was awarded the MIMS Pharmacy Guild Intern of the Year in 2017. Since gaining full registration, Tim has, largely on his own steam, upskilled to the point of being ‘the expert in the room’ on subjects from prostate cancer and erectile health to continence and peyronies disease proving that a community pharmacist can be whatever they want to be.

“Tim works with other pharmacists and allied health practitioners here and abroad to upskill them so that they too can better support these male patients and their partners; ensuring that more and more men have access to a friendly, knowledgable and connected pharmacist.”

Local Heroes

Alongside the nominations which were chosen as our Rising Stars, we also received many others which relate to younger pharmacists who are doing great things in their community.

We wanted to also recognise these younger Local Heroes of pharmacy.

George Brooks: “A leading young pharmacist in regional Victoria. George owned his own pharmacy at the age of 26 and quickly after became the Victorian Guild member of his region where he sat for a three-year term. He shows fantastic community support for patients with immunisations, nursing homes and advocacy with patient doctor care.

“This often involves going beyond his carer role to support patients in obtaining appropriate care especially on weekends where the viability of obtaining medical support is reduced in regional areas.”

Emily Dang: “Emily is a bright and enthusiastic pharmacist that is paving a new career path for new pharmacists. A junior pharmacist in a consultant pharmacy firm, she is learning the ropes and has taken the challenge of working within a corporate environment to later become a fully-fledged consultant pharmacist in the future.

“She currently manages the education content and quality use of medicines reporting, constantly thinking of new ideas to present vast amounts of data. Her IT and personable skills are valuable and something that the new generation of pharmacists should be commended for and utilised as strengths.”

Xenia Jak: “An intern pharmacist who has worked on cardiovascular screening in community pharmacy. She developed a heart health screening program as part of the Heart Foundations Health Professional Ambassador Program for 2021, which utilises the Australian absolute CVD risk calculator to identify patients at risk of CVD and referring them on to their GP for a further assessment.”

Sameer Pandey: “Sameer is an excellent practitioner and advocate for the profession. He regularly details GPs and specialists in the pharmacy’s key markets of fertility drugs and compounding. Particular success coming from educating GPs on compounding especially skin preparations and lately CBD. Sam develops his own education materials for this purpose.”

Alexander Wong: “Victoria Regional Lead Clinical Pharmacist: Mederev—Alex is passionate about the Quality Use of Medicines in the vulnerable older population. His RMMR and QUM service for aged care providers represents value-based healthcare for residents and he sits on national MAC committees due to his vast knowledge of policy development in the acute and aged care sector.”

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NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. (Mary) Kay Dunkley

    Congratulations to all who were nominated. It is so inspiring to hear what you have already achieved. The future of pharmacy is in good hands.

  2. Nicholas Logan

    All the candidate’s committment to furthering our professional is inspiring. Go you legends.

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