Advancing pharmacy education

Prof Debra Rowett has been elected as new president of the Council of Pharmacy Schools ANZ, while outgoing president Prof Peter Little is lauded for his achievements

Following the 2020 Annual General Meeting on 19 November, the Council of Pharmacy Schools Australia and New Zealand (CPS) has elected Professor Debra Rowett, from the University of South Australia, as its President.

Professor Andrew McLachlan AM, from the University of Sydney, has been elected as Vice President and Professor Mark Naunton from the University of Canberra as Treasurer for the next three years.

The new CPS executive team.

Prof Rowett, who served as vice president from 2018-20, expressed thanks and heartfelt congratulations to outgoing president Professor Peter J Little AM, from the University of Queensland, for his leadership of CPS.

Prof Little was president for three years, and vice-president prior to that. He held the role of Head of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Queensland from 2015 to May 2020.

Prof Rowett highlighted Prof Little’s implementation of many changes around the governance of CPS, facilitating the engagement of all pharmacy schools, and enhancing stakeholder engagement and advocacy.

“Throughout your time as President you have prioritised CPS,” she said.

“I have enjoyed the many meetings, telephone conversations and discussions always striving for excellence in all that we do. You have brought CPS to the decision-making tables to ensure our voice will be heard – thank you.”

CPS is composed of the heads of pharmacy schools across Australia and New Zealand. Its goal is to promote and advance pharmacy education to meet the current and future needs of all the stakeholders, Prof Little explained to AJP.

One ongoing goal during his tenure was advocating for the introduction of a Master’s Degree (Extended), an Australian Qualification Framework Level 9, he said.

“In some circles it’s referred to as a PharmD. Along with that was getting government approval for the use of the term ‘Doctor of Pharmacy’ by people that get that degree,” Prof Little said.

“To do that, we were working very closely with the Pharmacy Guild, PSA, the SHPA, and also with the regulatory bodies which is the Pharmacy Board and the Australian Pharmacy Council. That issue did not quite get completed but is still alive.

“Indeed if the Masters (Extended) project can be brought to fruition, we will be leading the development of the pharmacy profession.”

The matter was included as a clause in the final signed version of the 7CPA.

CPS had also planned to hold a forum on the future of pharmacy education in Brisbane in August.

“That would’ve been about 80-90 stakeholders – government, community, consumers, pharmacy, medicine, allied health. We were actually only days from sending out the save the date,” said Prof Little.

“Our plan was thwarted by Covid. CPS is committed to running that forum at the earliest opportunity in 2021. We agreed unanimously that it should focus on pharmacy education, so that forum will be about, what does the profession need in pharmacy education to create the graduates of the future?”

Other achievements during Prof Little’s time as president included advancing the administration of CPS, so that it now has autonomous financial arrangements and hires its own administrative executive officer.

CPS also “massively increased” its engagement with stakeholders over the past few years.

“We had many meetings with all the relevant pharmacy organisations. Numerous organisations reciprocated those invitations, we attended with the Australian Pharmacy Council, the Pharmacy Board and other major pharmacy organisations,” Prof Little told AJP.

He thanked CPS for the opportunity to have been president and wished the new team every success in the years ahead.

The incoming team, comprising Prof Rowett, Prof McLachlan and Prof Naunton, said it looks forward to hitting the ground running in 2021, maintaining momentum in projects that are in train.

AJP hopes to publish an article in coming weeks speaking with new president Prof Rowett.

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