Pharmacy’s 12 Agenda Setters


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We reveal who our readers believe are the pharmacists showing the way forward for the profession

AJP set out on the quest to find pharmacy’s agenda setters with a number of objectives – among these was a desire to identify people about whom we don’t often hear, the quiet achievers, if you will, who are steering a path for the profession but doing so outside the political and business spotlight.

We feel we’ve achieved this with our list (of 13, as it turned out). This list reflects the profession’s demographics and features a mix of age groups, gender, career orientation, interests and objectives that, we at AJP believe, reflects the profession in 2018 and in the near future.

In total 64 pharmacists were nominated by readers, with over 250 votes received.

So here we present Pharmacy’s 12 (or 13) Agenda Setters (with a few who just missed out listed at the end of the article):

*A full article with comprehensive profiles of each of the agenda setters is in the September issue of the AJP magazine, out next week

The final list

1 – Joyce McSwan 

The pharmacist voted as the profession’s number one agenda setter is Joyce McSwan, the founder of PainWISE and a very well-known figure in the area of pain management.

A clinical pharmacist, pain educator and pain program developer, Joyce has 18 years’ experience in hospital, community, therapeutic education and Aged Care facilities. 

Joyce lists here key areas of focus as being on encouraging the talent and innovation that are in her fellow pharmacists, to enhance their health care role, especially in the fields of pain management and responsible use of medicines. 

“Either through funding, or grass-roots teaching or mentoring, we need to really put something a bit more standardised together to help bring out talent and innovation in the pharmacy profession,” she says.

“I’d like to try and stimulate that properly in a way which involves guidelines. People aren’t always able to spring out something from their hip pocket like I’ve been able to.”

What you said:

“5 years ago she saw the need in pain management and created one of the most advanced pain programs for primary health that has continue to gain funding and clinically significant results”

“What a stand out pharmacist. Helped me get PainWISE up and running in my pharmacy! Her work ought to be show cased and acknowledged!”

“Passionate enthusiastic and totally committed to bringing change to the way medications are often inappropriately prescribed to chronic pain sufferers. Oozes energy and always approachable.”

Amy Page

2 – Amy Page

Selected by her peers as the second most influential agenda setter in pharmacy, Amy Page is currently working in hospital at the Alfred Health as the lead pharmacist rehabilitation, aged and community care, as well as working as a general practice pharmacist.

Amy’s clinical practice and research focus on outcomes for older people with multiple chronic diseases and polypharmacy. She has advocated for better provision of pharmacy services to these populations (including through GP pharmacist roles and HMRs).  

What you said:

“For her work in General Practice and deprescribing. I saw Amy Page present at the pharmacy students conference a few years ago. She inspired me to keep going with pharmacy as she had been able to do so many different things with her career”.

3 – Michael Dooley

Professor Michael Dooley has been nominated for leading the way for hospital pharmacists.

His busy schedule see him currently serve as Director of Pharmacy at Alfred Health, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at Monash University AND President of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA).

Under his leadership, SHPA has launched its residency program and specialty practice streams, as well as partnered with the PSA and Pharmacy Guild to re-launch the Advancing Practice framework.

He says there are a lot of opportunities for pharmacists across “a whole range of settings” including hospital, community, in the home and in GP practices.

“Pharmacists have a lot of experience and a lot of expertise, but to develop into those complex areas and evolving practices, we need to set the bar higher for what we can see pharmacists being able to contribute,” says Michael.

What you said:

“Michael is constantly pushing the boundaries of the profession, leading pharmacy forwards.”

“A true visionary who is committed to improving patient care, through his commitment to hospital pharmacy and the development of services and practitioners.”

4 – Marta Stybowski

Marta Stybowski

Starting out as a community pharmacist, Marta Stybowski has branched out into an interesting, and different, career trajectory to most of her peers.

“I began my career as a community pharmacist and made the most of a lot of different opportunities in my early years – I loved a challenge and loved being out of my comfort zone,” she says. 

“This led me to working as a community pharmacist from one of the southern-most pharmacies as a locum in Tassie, to a stint in far north Queensland and a number of jobs in between.

“I locumed, managed and even worked as an accredited pharmacist for a period of time – and this gave me a great insight into the many facets of being a true ‘community pharmacist.’ 

Marta joined Willach Pharmacy Solutions as a consulting pharmacist and communications manager before taking on her current role as general manager of consulting company Pharmacium in 2017.

What you said:

“Launched Pharmacium showing her innovative and entrepreneurial spirit with an aim to deliver a solution nobody else in the industry can offer, great advice, customer service and real results”.

“Has spent the last 10 years of her professional life passionately and actively campaigning to give pharmacists the time, space and processes to fulfil their full potential”.

5 – Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson

There would be no one surprised to see the current PSA national president making the list as an agenda setter.

Since taking over the top role at PSA in mid-2017 Shane has sharpened the organisation’s focus.

“I’ve been a locum in my early days in community pharmacy, I currently own a couple of pharmacies in Tasmania, I’ve been involved with research and teaching (completed a PhD in 2004) as well as consultant pharmacy practice,” he said. “I’ve probably experienced a lot of the challenges that pharmacists at the coal-face see on a day to day basis.”

“I want pharmacists to practice to their full scope. I want the profession to be recognised as medicines experts and I want pharmacists remunerated in a way that reflects their expertise and responsibility in healthcare”.

What you said

“Youthful, passionate and innovative leader, advocates for pharmacists to practise to their full scope, committed to evidence-based practice and collaborative patient-centred care. Focused on roles, remuneration and recognition of pharmacists across practice settings. Focused on promoting pharmacists as medication management experts.”

6 – Elise Apolloni & the Wanni White Coats

Elise Apolloni has been a constant presence in pharmacy media and conferences over the last year or two. Her Capital Chemist Waniassa pharmacy and it’s merry band of ‘Wanni White Coats’ have won a number of awards and have provided a source of inspiration and support to many in pharmacy, with their commitment, passion and positivity. 

“My personal agenda is to infect the profession with positivity – and I do like the word ‘infect’,” says Elise, who has won fame in the ACT as one of Canberra’s Singing Pharmacists, and a number of awards including the 2017 National Telstra Young Business Woman’s Award.

“I think it changes the conversation: how we feel every day when we go to work, how we interact with our patients. It’s nice to have positive stories and remember that all jobs have good and bad in them; if you focus only on the bad, that’s all you’ll see.”

What you said:

“I hope I work there one day”.

“For her constant positive vibe for what pharmacy can be and her positive online media usage which leads to a positive display of the profession both internally and externally”.

6 – Catherine Bronger

Catherine Bronger

A community pharmacy owner, national councillor for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (NSW) and a member of the UTS industry advisory Board, Catherine Bronger is a tireless worker.

From impeccable pharmacy pedigree, Catherine has forged her own path through pharmacy student organisations, into ownership and into senior political ranks.

Catherine is a partner in three pharmacies in Sydney, two of which focus heavily on the development and implementation of professional services such as immunisation, sleep apnoea diagnostic and equipment service, compounding, weight loss and diabetes education service.

What you said:

“Catherine is the future of pharmacy. No doubt about it. She is passionate about all aspects of pharmacy and ensuring that there’s a future in pharmacy for many, many years to come”.

“She is inspirational, an award-winning pharmacy owner, a mentor of future pharmacists, and passionate about the future of all pharmacists, pharmacies and the pharmacy profession.”

8 – Trent Twomey

Trent Twomey

The current president of the Pharmacy Guild’s Queensland branch, and one of the rising figures in pharmacy politics, Trent Twomey is set to make his mark on community pharmacy as head of the Guild’s Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement negoitating committee.

Elected to the Queensland branch presidency in 2017, Trent had served on the state’s Guild council prior to this.

He is currently also serving as a Guild senior national vice-president and holds the distinguished role of Secretary General of the World Pharmacy Council.

Trent is a partner in a group of Tropical North Queensland pharmacies – a region where he is active in the wider business, civic and political landscape.

What you said:

“He is driven & passionate. He stands up for what is right & gives us all a voice. He is the person we need & want in our corner. His achievements are impressive & will continue to impress.”

“Pushing the expansion of scope of pharmacists in primary health care. Negotiates weekly with all levels of government to upskill and empower our profession.”

9 – Erica Tong

Erica Tong

Erica Tong, a part-time PhD candidate at Monash University, has been working on advancing roles for pharmacists in the hospital setting.

She is part of a team that developed a charting model at the Alfred Hospital, where pharmacists chart medications for patients alongside the doctor.

“It’s a collaboration with the doctor,” she explains. “The doctor and the pharmacist are there at the point when the patient comes in … and together they come up with a plan for the medication.”

“My hope is that it actually paves the way for pharmacist prescribing rights.”

What you said:

“Leading research that gives pharmacists the evidence to demonstrate what advanced roles they can play to improve patient care. Breaking the barriers of the so-called turf war.”

“Pushing the collaborative partnership between doctors and pharmacists through practice-based research, which is being implemented at multiple hospitals around the country.”

10 – Rhonda Clifford

Rhonda Clifford

A highly-respected pharmacy academic, Rhonda Clifford says she is “committed to ensuring high quality pharmacy education, to ensure that the next generation of pharmacists can achieve great things in delivering excellence in health over the coming decades”.

Currently the Head of School, Allied Health, at the University if Western Australia, in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Rhonda previously served as the university’s Director of Pharmacy.

Rhonda has played a crucial role in expanding the profession’s scope of practice through fostering inter-disciplinary collaboration, and has been a key proponent in pharmacist prescribing.

What you said:

“For her work on the pharmacist prescribing forum.”

“For preparing the pharmacist prescribing document.”

10 – Chris Freeman

Chris FreemanDr Chris Freeman, best known for his advocacy and research on pharmacists in general practice, has been laying the ground for pharmacists to work in collaborative care models.

“My vision is to ensure that pharmacists are regarded are by the public, by government and by other health professionals as integral members of the healthcare team, rather than as a luxury,” says Chris, a current PSA national vice president.

Chris currently is a clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland and consultant practice pharmacist at Camp Hill Healthcare.

What you said:

“For pushing the agenda for an expanded professional remit for primary care pharmacists in general medical practices, an innovative approach to enhanced collaborative practice.”

10 – Simon Furletti

Simon Furletti

Simon Furletti has spent most of his career helping other pharmacists to hone their skills for the community pharmacy setting.

He has worked as the professional practice manager for TerryWhite Chemmart and also for Chemist Warehouse as the professional services pharmacist and intern coordinator.

Currently he is restructuring how Monash University does pharmacy placements, which he hopes will lead to changes around Australia as well.

“My role is not to train them on the status quo, it’s about how to actually be better,” he says.

“What I’ve seen is once you actually get people motivated and encouraged … [they can] really excel in the things that they trained for.”

What you said:

“Leading the charge in developing educational quality in multiple settings, and ultimately driving large-scale change and improvement through the entire profession. Truly amazing.”

10 – Debbie Rigby

Debbie Rigby

A pioneer of, and tireless advocate for, pharmacy’s enhanced clinical role, Debbie Rigby needs no introduction to anyone.

Debbie, who describes her current role as a consultant clinical pharmacist, works in a general practice, conducts Home Medicine Reviews and provides medicines education to consumer groups, pharmacists, nurses, GPs and other health professionals through her company Pharmeducation.

“I think the profession is in a good place at the moment with lots of pharmacists doing innovative things in different settings,” she says.

What you said:

“A brilliant example of a leader; innovative, passionate, self-reflective, inspiring and bringing the next generation along with her”.

“Has fought for roles for pharmacists as medicines experts and advocates for best use of medicines across the health system.”

Bubbling under

The following also received a substantial number of votes, but just missed out on making the final 12 (or 13!)

Chris Campbell: “His love and enthusiasm for pharmacy is infectious, and he’s actively involved in any initiative to help broaden the pharmacists’ scope of practice e.g. pharmacist vaccinations and MHR.”

Deirdre Criddle: “This woman has patients as her number one focus, but how she looks at caring for them is absolutely systematic, change focussed and driven by a vision for better outcomes for all. A brilliant example of a leader; innovative, passionate, self-reflective and inspiring”.

Daniel Guidone: “Always pushing for new ways to develop the pharmacy workforce.”

Ben Marchant: “An innovative young PSA branch president.”

Lisa Nissen: “Clinically and professionally innovative and provide state of the art up to date information on all aspects of pharmacy.”

Krysti-Lee Rigby: “Has shown a dedication and commitment to forwarding pharmacy forward like no other. Unafraid to challenge the status quo and lead by example she really is forging the path for ECPs.”

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