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Volume 1 Issue 3
 
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NEWS
School of Pharmacy ALUMNI New Alumni PROFILES

 
@OtagoPharmacy Top Tweet!


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The joys of graduation! " - Graeme Smith @GJSmith2810

 
Kia ora, and welcome to the third and final edition of the Otago School of Pharmacy Newsletter for 2016!
 
As many of you may know, the School has seen a lot of change over the year. In March  Professor Stephen Duffull  stood down as Dean after six years of leading the School. Prof Duffull has returned to the faculty where he will continue his research. Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott lead the school until I arrived from Newfoundland in August.
 
In March the School welcomed 120 new students at the White Coat Ceremony.  4 PhD students graduated mid-year with another 4 at our December graduation along with 124 BPharm candidates and 9 BPharm Honours candidates.
 
In August the School officially opened the first off-site building at 63 Hanover Street.
 
The School have continued to support the movements of culturally competency requirements for Pharmacists and have incorporated Te Reo Māori and marae experiences into the curriculum. I have been working with the Horoeka staff members on my Te Reo and pronunciation, and I began my graduation speech in Te Reo last Friday!
 
The school is continuing to review the curriculum and have all staff actively working together on a monthly basis to have the curriculum ready for 2018.
 
As you can see we are hard at work increasing our communications and outreach and last month we launched our Twitter account @OtagoPharmacy. We will continue to reach out to all of you on a regular basis by means of our School newsletter because we want to share the accomplishments of our remarkable faculty, students and alumni. Please help us keep in touch by sharing your stories and achievements with our communications team at Pharmacy.feedback@otago.ac.nz.
 
Thank you to our faculty, staff, students, alumni and stakeholders for your contribution to the School, keeping us on task and helping to move things forward.

 
With warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season,
                            

Carlo Marra

 
School of Pharmacy NEWS
Congratulations to our graduating class of 2016!

“We are here to celebrate a very substantial moment in the lives of 124 BPharm candidates, 9 BPharm honours candidates and 4 PhD candidates,” say School Dean, Professor Carlo Mara at the pre-graduation ceremony held in the ISB Link on Friday 9th December 2016.

Read More

Gold to have Māori on the Front Line

The largest number of Māori students graduated from the University of Otago’s Health Science Division this year with 65 Māori clinicians entering the workforce. “This is a sight, a fabulous sight”, commented Otago Alumni Leanne Te Karu at the landmark graduation ceremony. 
 
Pharmacy lecturer’s passion for teaching

A good curriculum is essential for educating our future pharmacists, and Dr Shyamal Das works hard to ensure that the curriculum is understood.
 

Read More

 

Survey for stakeholders RESULTS
 
Over the summer, the School of Pharmacy conducted a survey of pharmacists throughout New Zealand for feedback about our School and our graduates.  We also asked respondents to gaze into the horizon and share their thoughts on what might be required of future pharmacy graduates.  This coincides with a very exciting phase in the School of Pharmacy where we are undertaking a review of our BPharm curriculum. Read more for survey results.
 
 
School of Pharmacy ALUMNI

Chantelle Bartlett's experience at the Rio Olympic Games.

Ms Bartlett (2012 graduate) first applied to be a volunteer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in 2014.  Ms Bartlett said it was "quite a lengthy process".  After applying Ms Bartlett was interviewed and had to complete online training for the next year and a half.

It was "such an amazing experience" volunteering as a pharmacist within the Athletes Village, say Ms Bartlett, "and I really wanted to let other young pharmacists know about this opportunity."

 
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New Alumni PROFILES
Natalie Fleming
2016 Graduate

Graduate Profile
Elliot Harris
2016 Graduate

Graduate Profile
Maryann Cant
2016 Graduate

Graduate Profile
School of Pharmacy NEWS 
Otago School of Pharmacy congratulates Graduates of 2016
“The challenge falls to you to find the care gaps and move the profession forward by pushing the boundaries to improve health outcomes and relieve the strained health care system.”
 
“We are here to celebrate a very substantial moment in the lives of 124 BPharm candidates, 9 BPharm honours candidates and 4 PhD candidates,” says Dean of the School, Professor Carlo Marra at the Pre-graduation ceremony held in the ISB Link on Friday 9th December 2016.

“We are in a position where healthcare is rapidly changing to meet the needs of an older, heavier population within a resource strapped system,” Professor Marra said in his opening speech. “The challenge falls to you to find the care gaps and move the profession forward by pushing the boundaries to improve health outcomes and relieve the strained health care system.”
Guest speaker, Dr Ruth Ferguson also challenged graduates after calling Pharmacy “An invisible profession (in the media)”, challenging the students to help “make Pharmacy valued and more visible.” Dr Ferguson invited graduates to join the “adventure” of meeting the very real health needs of our world today.

And an adventurer needs a good “tool-kit” she continues, “your degree is a good solid base” and “communication and empathy are skills that will also come in handy.”
Having a good “tool-kit” could be a way to describe this years Andi Shirtcliffe Leadership of the Year winner, Sophie Oliff. Ms Oliff received her first Leadership Award from the University of Otago earlier this year as well as Blackmores Future Pharmacist of the Year. Read more about Sophie in our news article.
Ms Oliff and Christina White Prize winner Abbey Evison recently returned to New Zealand from Rarotonga where they presented findings on effective topical treatments for a common fungal infection, a result of their research elective project. Supervisors, Dr Ruth Ferguson and Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott led the group to “put the project in context.” (PharmacyToday, 7th December).
Natalie Fleming remained onstage for a length of time, receiving three awards and four certificates.  Ms Fleming received the Pharmacy Defence Association Prize for the highest standard in the Pharmacy Law and Ethics component, the Pharmacy Prize in Pharmacy Practice 4th Year (Douglas), the Pharmaceutical Society of NZ Prize for the highest standard of attainment in fourth year examination (presented by PSNZ President Graeme Smith), and Certificate in papers PHCY480, PHCY481, PHCY482, PHCY483.
“I hope the pharmacist’s scope of practice will continue to expand, allowing one to make the very most of their pharmacy education to improve health outcomes for our population,” says Ms Fleming in her graduate profile.
Olivia Coe received the Pharmacy Prize in Clinical Pharmacy this year for fourth year with best achievement in the 3 Quality Use of Medicines papers PHCY345, 471 and 473.

NZHPA President, Kim Brackley presents Olivia Coe with the Pharmacy Prize in Clinical Pharmacy.


 
Congratulations to Certificate award winners Kathleen Tong (PHCY470), Michelle Quinn (PHCY473) and 2016 New Zealand’s Association of Pharmacy Students Otago (NZAPS-O) President Hannah Arnold (PHCY471).

The School of Pharmacy also celebrated the graduation of four PhD students again this year.

o Bhuvan KC (Supervising team: Dr Sue Heydon, Prof. Pauline Norris)
o Katrin Kramer (Supervising team: Dr Greg Walker, Dr Sarah Young)
o Henry Ndukwe (Supervising team: Dr Prasad Nishtala, Assoc. Prof. June Tordoff, Dr Ting Wang)
o Emma Salis (Supervising team: Assoc. Prof. Natalie Medlicott, Assoc. Prof. David Reith)

 
Honour Students
From left (back row): Dharrshinee Selvakumar, Jane Wei, Helen Lee
(front row) Bhavani Selvarasu, Madoka Murayasu, Madhuriksha Reddy, Natalie Fleming
Absent: Claire Fan, Jasmine Hwang
Graduating Pacific Island Students
From left (back row): Professor Pauline Norris, Avishaal Singh, Ulalei Aiono (front row) Madhuriksa Reddy, Muniksha Reddy, Pratik Narayan, and Crystal Lavulo.
 
Photography By Alan Dove
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Gold to have Māori on the Front Line

“As a practicing clinician working predominately in Māori communities I cannot tell you how gold that is to have so many Māori health professionals ready to start,” said Leanne Te Karu.

The largest number of Māori students graduated from the University of Otago’s Health Science Division this year with 65 Māori clinicians entering the workforce.

“This is a sight, a fabulous sight”, commented Otago Alumni Leanne Te Karu at the landmark graduation ceremony. 

“As a practising clinician working predominately in Māori communities I cannot tell you how gold that is to have so many Māori health professionals ready to start,” she said.

“And that absolute value to whanau, hapu and iwi to have a Māori clinician in front of you”.

Although it was not planned it seemed most appropriate for Leanne to speak at the ceremony as a “ring-in mum” for graduating student Tayla Tuhikarama (Tainui). As a key contributor and initiator of Ngā Kaitiaki o te Puna Rongoā (Māori Pharmacist Association), Leanne became the first joint President of the organisation. This has been a great support for the School’s Māori students and has helped create New Zealand’s first Māori Students’ Pharmacy Association, Te Puna Kaitaka.
 
Anja Mulder, Renee Spriggs, Tayla Tuhikarama, Hemi Mckechnie and Ashley Howell. Photo Rewa Pene
 
Tayla was the first tumuaki (president) of the association and has worked hard to establish the association’s core values of: academic and social support, commitment to Māori health, commitment to the pharmacy profession and whakawhanaungatanga (getting to know each other).

“We have nine final year Māori students next year” says Tayla at the graduation ceremony, excited that the schools Māori role has increased enough to be able to establish Te Puna Kaitaka. 

“The milestone was due to a collaborative effort between the University of Otago and the Ministry of Health, co-ordinated by the University's Māori Health Workforce Development Unit and Māori Centre, to support Māori health students throughout their studies.” Sunday Star Times.

With the additional support of Ngā Kaitiaki o te Puna Ronga, the Otago School of Pharmacy’s Horoeka staff and Te Puna Kaitaka, the Otago School of Pharmacy leads the way in Pharmacy education for Māori students, ensuring more Māori Pharmacists will be on the front line as a pharmacist helping for the community.
 
Pharmacy lecturer’s passion for teaching
A good curriculum is essential for educating our future pharmacists, and Dr Shyamal Das works hard to ensure that the curriculum is understood. His passion for teaching was established at a young age and is still very important to the Otago School of Pharmacy lecturer.

“We need to teach our students well with the school curriculum for the betterment of the community,” Says Dr Das.

Growing up in Bangladesh, Dr Das was influenced largely by his father who is soon to celebrate 60 years of primary school teaching. His father taught him the value of honesty and hard work, encouraging Dr Das to pursue a career in Pharmacy.

“I learned honesty from my parents. I wanted a career where I could be honest but lead a decent life.”

Dr Das began his Pharmaceutical study at Jahangirnagar University in 1990. Within the first 6 months of his degree, Dr Das knew that he wanted to be a Pharmacy lecturer in the future. However, teaching Pharmacy was not a popular choice for graduates who were guaranteed a pharmaceutical position that would pay a lot more. But it was what Dr Das was most passionate about.

“I loved it, my passion was teaching”.

As a top student at the University, Dr Das was employed to run tutorials for secondary school students, encouraging them to undertake tertiary education. In his first year of study Dr Das helped to educate over 2700 students in 54 different classes.

Dr Das graduated with his BPharm (Honours) and MPharm degrees from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, in 1997 and 1999 respectively. After completing his Master’s degree in Pharmaceutics, Dr Das was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Bangladesh. In 2003, Dr Das received a scholarship to complete his PhD at Monash University (Australia) staying on as Research Fellow until 2013.

In 2013, Dr Das took on the challenging position as Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago. Now, not only did Dr Das have to teach in English, but he had to learn a curriculum that was vastly different to the Pharmaceutical education he had received himself.

Dr Das sought help from a speech therapist almost immediately after arriving to New Zealand. He also joined Dunedin’s Toastmasters group to help with his public speaking. Hours outside of work where spent improving his communication skills so his students could understand his lecturers.

Students evaluate lectures at the end of each semester as a requirement of the University of Otago. Dr Das runs an additional evaluation earlier in the semester in order to make changes during the teaching period and transform his lectures if required.  “Every student is different. I want to know how I can accommodate for all abilities and styles of learning”, says Dr Das.

Dr Das’s students notice the effort he has made in his lecturers and rate him very highly “Dr Das persisted on adapting his teaching to make sure that we understood the content as a whole” quotes one of our fourth year students, “It is such an honour to have a lecturer who is so devoted and genuinely wants to teach us.”

After a lot of hard work and dedication Dr Das was delighted to be among the Top 5 Teachers at the Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) Teaching awards (September, 2016) from a pool of almost 370 nominations. “When I heard the news that I was a finalist for the Top 5 Teachers, I was so excited”.

Dr Das’s research interests revolve around drug delivery, in particular, respiratory drug delivery of powder formulations and vaccines for treating chronic lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and other lung infections and was recently announced one of the five finalists for ‘The Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association (APSA) New Investigator Award 2016’. 


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Survey for stakeholders results
Part 1: Increasing experiential learning in the new BPharm programme
By Arlene McDowell
 
Earlier this year, the School of Pharmacy conducted a survey of pharmacists throughout New Zealand and asked them to share their thoughts on what might be required for pharmacy graduates in the future.  In reporting the results of the stakeholder survey, our strategy is to present a series of pieces in coming newsletters based on the main themes identified in the survey results.  The focus of the current piece is on experiential learning. 
 
The opportunity for our students to be part of the pharmacy workforce during their university degree is invaluable and enriches their study experience significantly. Experiential education facilitates students to develop the professional attitudes and required competencies that are needed to make a positive contribution to the workplace. The international trend at educational institutions that offer pharmacy programmes is to increase experiential learning.
 
The current experiential opportunities in the Otago BPharm programme are a 2 day community placement in the P2 year; a 1 week rural placement in the P3 year; a 1 week hospital placement in the break between the P3 and P4 year and a 1 week community placement in the P4 year.
 
The majority of respondent’s workplaces have provided placements for Otago BPharm students in the past six years (Table 1).
 
Table 1.  Responses to the question “Has your workplace provided placements for Otago pharmacy undergraduate students in the last six years?” (n = 436).
 
 The most important skills for New Zealand graduates in the future (n = 313) were identified as;
  • Communication
  • Clinical knowledge
  • Decision making ability
  • Business sense
  • Adaptability and a willingness to continue to learn throughout their career
 
In the survey, we posed the question “What do you think would be the most important enablers to help increase experiential learning the new BPharm programme?”.  There were 150 responses for this question and the majority of answers focused on placements – that they needed to be longer and/or more frequent, that there needed to be some incentive (generally monetary), for the pharmacies or hospitals who take on BPharm students.  Respondents also advocated greater student employment or internship of some sort during the university holidays, closer links between pharmacies and the faculty, and giving students feedback about their interactions with patients, particularly about their communication skills.  A smaller number of respondents felt that experiential learning would be increased by exposing students to a wide range of settings, not just hospital or community pharmacies, and by placing students with other healthcare professionals in order to expose them to a multi-discipline environment.  The comments are summarized below;
 
  • Longer, more frequent placements
  • Incentives (generally monetary) for pharmacies and hospitals who take on BPharm students
  • Training or guidance on how to do this and what to be ‘teaching’ students
  • Greater student employment or internship during university holidays
  • Closer links between pharmacies and faculty
  • Giving students feedback about their interactions with patients, particularly about their communication skills
  • Practising pharmacist employed as educators on the BPharm programme
  • Increase the range of settings for placements (not just hospital and community) andplace students with other healthcare professionals to expose them to a multi-discipline environment
 
A subsequent question on this theme was “What barriers do you think exist in your workplace for taking undergraduate students for placements?”.  The main barriers identified were a lack of time to train and assist students during placements and a lack of financial incentive to take undergraduates for placements.  The comments represented considerations of both the workplace and the students (Table 2).  A lack of student preparedness was also cited by a few respondents as a factor, in that better prepared students can learn more about clinical practice, rather than having to learn basic skills while on placement.
 
Table 2.  Responses to the question “What barriers do you think exist in your workplace for taking undergraduate students for placements?” (n = 248).
 
Lack of time to train and assist students Lack of student preparedness
Lack of financial incentive to take on undergraduates Some were put off due to past not-positive experiences
Too short-staffed to spend time with undergraduates Students needed to be proactive and look for ways to help and be enthusiastic
Lack of physical space in the dispensary Placements were too short for students to learn enough to become useful, especially if they lacked previous pharmacy experience
 
As part of the development of the new Otago BPharm curriculum, experiential learning has been something we have had lots of discussion about.  A Placement Programme Committee has been formed this year and is charged with reviewing and reporting on experiential placement programmes overseen by the School of Pharmacy.  Members of this Committee are;
 
Senior Academic, School of Pharmacy: Prof. Carlo Marra
Community/Rural Placement Programme Coordinator, School of Pharmacy: Mr James Windle
Hospital Placement Programme Coordinator, School of Pharmacy: Ms Aynsley Peterson
Professional Practice Fellow, Pharmacist, School of Pharmacy: Mrs Nicky Hewson
Community Pharmacy Preceptor Pharmacist (City): Ms Nik Wild
Community Pharmacy Preceptor Pharmacist (Rural): Ms Margo Roxburgh
Hospital Pharmacy Preceptor Pharmacists: Ms Kathryn Marsh / Mr Quang-Te Ly
Student representative (Education representative, New Zealand Association of Pharmacy Students, Otago, or proxy): 2016 Mr Aden Holmes and 2017 Ms Mandy Hurle
Undergraduate Administrator, School of Pharmacy: Mrs Kathy Ferguson
Recent Otago BPharm graduate: Mr James Nethercott
 
To increase experiential learning in the undergraduate programmes, it will be essential to have the support of the pharmacy community.  The School of Pharmacy is looking forward to working together to provide solutions for how New Zealand can manage the need for increasing experiential learning. 
 
Acknowledgements.  We thank Vicky McLeod (School of Pharmacy, University of Otago), Dale Griffiths and Richard Townley (Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand), Linda Caddick (Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand) and the New Zealand Hospital Pharmacists Association for assisting with the distribution of the survey.  We also thank Maree Dawson for her services to compile an independent thematic analysis of the survey findings.


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