West Australian pharmacist, Swarup Afsar, has been voted the UTS 2015 Pharmacist of the Year for his work in mental health and the development of an innovative counselling service.
Now in its fourth year, UTS hosted the ‘2015 Innovative Pharmacist of the year award’ sponsored by AztraZeneca. Attended by 240 guests including first year UTS pharmacy students and industry professionals, the event brought together members of the pharmacy community who share the UTS passion of embracing current challenges with innovation, rigour and curiosity.
The winner had the opportunity to share their innovation with the rest of the pharmacy profession present on the night.
This year’s winner was Swarup Afsar, owner of Pharmacy 777 in Western Australia for his innovative Mental Health Module in Community Pharmacy. Swarup’s innovation was around implementing a counselling service that provides; solution focused psycho-dynamic therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy. Mr Afsar said “his innovation is continuing to improve mental health experienced by a whole spectrum of patients – from newly diagnosed diabetics, sleep apnoea sufferer’s to FIFO workers and their partners, and of course people having prescriptions for anti-depressants”.
The event was particularly timely, especially as the pharmacy profession goes through a time of unprecedented change. UTS: Pharmacy used the night to reward and celebrate those pharmacists who are moving away from the traditional dispensing and supply model of practice by developing innovative new service based models which will better engage with patients.
In keeping with the night’s theme of innovation, Professor Charlie Benrimoj, head of the Graduate School of Health, unveiled the new Master of Pharmacy (International) degree at the event. The Master of Pharmacy (International), to be delivered in 2016, is the first of its kind in Australia and is intended to produce a new kind of pharmacy graduate.
Accredited by the Australian Pharmacy Council, the program is unique in that it offers students an integrated one-year international clinical placement in advanced practice sites and puts Australian students on the world stage. Students gain an increased awareness of the health systems and cultural and socioeconomic factors that influence pharmacy practice and the health care profession.
UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International and Advancement), Professor William Purcell, an attendant on the night said, “the new degree is an innovative response to demand from students for immersive international placement experiences. The program provides an exciting opportunity for ambitious high-achieving students to gain a competitive edge in the Australian and global markets.”
UTS: Pharmacy is innovative in its research and teaching and the unique teaching methods that integrate the two. The new Master of Pharmacy (International) and the gala dinner is part of the UTS strategic plan to provide practice-based education and produce graduates who have international experience that will enhance their career opportunities, employability and global competitiveness.