Trailblazing pharmacist recognised at annual awards

Kirrily Chambers, the 2018 Innovative Pharmacist of the Year

Kirrily Chambers has been named Innovative Pharmacist of the Year 2018 for her pioneering work as the first credentialled diabetes educator pharmacist in Australia

Pharmacist Kirrily Chambers was recognised for her contribution to the profession at the UTS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year Awards in Sydney on Thursday night.

After campaigning for three years, Ms Chambers broke new ground when she became Australia’s first pharmacist to become a Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) in 2009.

Since then, 220 pharmacists have followed in her footsteps, with hundreds more completing graduate courses in diabetes care and education.

“Like many chronic health conditions, diabetes is often misunderstood and there’s a lot of misinformation, so increasing the capacity of pharmacists to provide support and knowledge to people with diabetes is very powerful,” said Ms Chambers, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10.

“As a CDE, I use my Medicare provider number to offer bulk-billed diabetes care and education services to people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I have my own clinical rooms within a community pharmacy setting. This model of care makes it very accessible for people to get the information they need,” she said.

“I love my job and I’m very passionate about being able to help people better understand their condition,” said Ms Chambers.

“Being able to impart that knowledge in an easy-to-understand format, makes a huge difference to people.”

Now in its seventh year, the awards are sponsored by AstraZeneca and recognise an individual or team that shares UTS Pharmacy’s passion for embracing innovation and implementing professional services.

Ms Chambers wins a medal, $5,000 towards further professional development and the opportunity to share her innovation with the rest of the profession.

(L-R): Country President, AstraZeneca ANZ Liz Chatwin, Kirrily Chambers, Prof Andrew Parfitt and Prof Kylie Williams.

The award was presented during a gala dinner at the Great Hall where the Master of Ceremonies John Bell, a specialist practitioner teacher at UTS Pharmacy and advisor at the PSA, spoke highly of Ms Chambers’ approach.

“With diabetes the fastest growing chronic disease worldwide, an initiative to enable pharmacists to provide better diabetes management has enormous benefits, not only for the person with diabetes, but also their family and the wider community,” he said.

“Kirrily Chambers has set up a dynamic service providing increased access to diabetes care in the pharmacy setting which is a great achievement.”

In 2016, Ms Chambers was also winner of the Jan Baldwin National Credentialled Diabetes Educator of the Year award.

In addition to the Innovative Pharmacist of the Year award, 10 UTS pharmacy students were selected to receive awards and scholarships for dedication to their studies including Pauline Ngo, Samuel Wells, Nabila Chowdhury, Laura Stutchbury, Karan Patel, Antonia Dadic, Hassan Karnib, Tamara Badavi and Grase Orihuela.

Second-year pharmacy student, Daniel Barnaby, walked away with two awards.

“I was thrilled to be awarded this year’s PSA and SHPA prizes. Not only is the awards ceremony a great event to be part of, but it’s a huge honour to be recognised among such an esteemed group of winners. It’s a fantastic way to wrap up a busy semester,” he said.

Acting Head of School, Professor Joanne Gray, commented on the high quality of nominations and extended her huge congratulations to all the winners.

“Kirrily Chambers’ hard work, trailblazing approach and innovative practices have already helped hundreds of pharmacists and thousands of patients. The commitment our Pharmacy students demonstrate towards their work and future is also inspirational.

“Innovation is the cornerstone of pharmacy and the Graduate School of Health is proud to recognise the outstanding contributions of those in this critical profession,” she said.

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