Outstanding leaders recognised


Pharmacist of the year, top ECP and intern for 2021 and two lifetime achievement awards announced

NSW South Coast pharmacist and pharmacy owner, Linda Badewitz-Dodd, is the PSA Symbion Pharmacist of the Year for 2021.

The PSA announced the Merimbula-based pharmacist as the winner during its Excellence Awards ceremony on the eve of World Pharmacists Day (25 September).

Ms Badewitz-Dodd and her practice go above and beyond for their local community, providing high quality care and personalised support, said the PSA.

Her strong community spirit and devotion to serving the Merimbula community was evidenced during the 2019 bushfires, when she provided emergency support to the town while her own home was under threat.

Linda Badewitz-Dodd

“During the crisis, Linda’s efforts supported the residents of nearby evacuated towns on the South Coast, including Eden and Bermagui, by mobilising face masks and essential medicines from Canberra. She continues to demonstrate her care for the community through the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, added: “Linda exemplifies the extraordinary lengths that pharmacists have gone to ensure the public continued to have access to healthcare when they needed it the most. Linda puts the community first in everything she does, and I know, she will not let anything get in the way of that.”

“I’m just a pharmacist doing my thing, for my community and my customers – that’s what I do and that’s what a pharmacist is,” said Ms Badewitz-Dodd upon receiving the award.

“We need, as a profession, to all step up. We need to all be providing a service that is part of an integrated healthcare model. Collaborating with other health professionals and other allied health professionals is where we need to be if want to stay in this space.”

“We need, as a profession, to all step up.”
—Linda Badewitz-Dodd, Pharmacist of the Year 2021

Maria Berbecaru was awarded the PSA Symbion Early Career Pharmacist (ECP) of the Year at the ceremony.

The Hobart-based pharmacist was recognised for being a young pioneer of clinical pharmacy practice in aged care.

Maria Berbecaru

Notably, she implemented an embedded clinical pharmacist service in an Australian aged care facility, where she has taken responsibility for medicines safety and quality use of medicines.

A/Prof Freeman commended Maria on her achievement and acknowledged the importance of pharmacists in aged care.

“On the back of the Royal Commission into Aged Care, it is clear that pharmacists have a critical role in improving safe and effective medication use,” he said.

“Maria has established a model and measurement tools to clearly show the benefits to aged care staff, to residents, to medical practitioners and to the community pharmacy in having an on-site resident clinical pharmacist.

“Her efforts continue to evolve pharmacists’ role in aged care, expanding the profession’s scope of practice and improving the lives of aged care residents, their loved ones and their carers,” A/Prof Freeman said.

Erin Cooper

Meanwhile Erin Cooper, intern pharmacist at Capital Chemist Wanniassa in Canberra, was named the 2021 PSA MIMS Intern Pharmacist of the Year.

Ms Cooper is a former National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) President.

She was recognised by the PSA for developing a NAPSA Intern Guide to help all interns during a critical year, while at the same time grappling with working throughout the bushfire season and dealing with COVID-19.

Ms Cooper “consistently exceeds the expectations” of her role at the pharmacy, implementing various professional services, supporting other pharmacists, and above all, supporting the health of her local community, said the PSA.

A/Prof Chris Freeman added: “Erin has demonstrated aptitude in patient medication management and professional leadership well beyond her years of experience. I can’t think of a more worthy recipient and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Erin’s career.”

Two Victorian pharmacists, Valerie Constable and John Ware OAM, were recognised for their significant service to Australian pharmacy, as dual recipients of the PSA Symbion Lifetime Achievement Award.

Valerie Constable

For more than three decades, Ms Constable has helped pave the way to optimise standards of pharmacy education and practice, becoming a trusted mentor to many.

Ms Constable’s principles are epitomised by the Pharmacists’ Support Services (PSS), the anonymous volunteer support service that she helped establish, and led for many years.

In 1991, she was the first woman in 135 years to be elected President of the PSA’s Victorian Branch.

For over 35 years, Ms Constable and her husband Bob provided patient-centred care to their local communities through their pharmacies in Footscray and Pascoe Vale in Melbourne.

She was a mentor to numerous trainees, many of whom have gone on to be prominent members of the profession.

John Ware, a former national president of PSA and state president of PSA’s Victorian Branch, received the award posthumously following his passing in January this year.

Mr Ware had also been recognised with the PSA Victorian Lifetime Achievement Award last year. 

John Ware

He is a former President of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice and Chair of the Faculty Council of the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University.

As Chair of the Victorian College of Pharmacy he led the team that integrated the mono-disciplinary college of Pharmacy into a single faculty structure of Monash University. 

Mr Ware was one of only a small number of Australians to have been awarded a Fellowship of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). He contributed globally to the field of pharmacy including as president of the Western Pacific Pharmaceutical Forum and as president of the FIP Foundation.

Notably, he established the concept of pharmaceutical care for Australia, enhancing the role of pharmacists in medication management. Mr Ware and his wife Nariel also established the Ware Fellowship to invest in postdoctoral research into leadership in pharmacy education. 

 “Both Val and John have had such a tremendous impact on the profession, we made the decision to award the Lifetime Achievement Award to both of them this year,” said A/Prof Freeman.

“John had demonstrated sustained dedication to the pharmacy profession and had been a driving force in the development and expansion of the role of the pharmacist in Australia.

“Val has been a trailblazer in her own right, forging the path for women in the profession to follow. She has been a mentor to many pharmacists and has made substantial gains for pharmacist involvement in respiratory care,” he said.                             

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