Volume 2 Issue 3
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Kia ora koutou katoa.

As the 2017 academic year comes to a close let me thank you for all the incredible work, dedication and commitment you have exhibited throughout the year.

Over the year we have welcomed and educated 408 undergraduate students, 20 visiting researchers, and 56 postgraduate students; we have successfully revised the second year of the new undergraduate curriculum and have made massive inroads on the other years; we have begun the development of a Māori strategy for the School; we launched the inaugural Forward Pharmacy Symposium and have drafted a strategy around moving the profession forward through evidence generation with a 2nd symposium planned for March 23, 2018; we organized the inaugural Green Cross Pharmacy Awards for the school and, for the first time, honoured our preceptors in hospital, community and rural practice; we instituted our alumnus of the year award with the first recipient being Maria McIntyre; we instituted our first honorary white coat recipient with Society President Graeme Smith taking the honours; a very successful Research Day organized by Dr Ailsa McGregor and Dr Shyamal Das;  a successful whānau afternoon tea prior to Māori graduation for our Māori pharmacy graduates.

New roles within the School of Pharmacy: Associate Dean Maori (Ms. Leanne Te Karu) , Associate Dean Internationalization (Associate Professor Joel Tyndall), PPF Experiential Learning, (Ms. Aynsley Peterson);  Pacific Advisor (Kasey Brown),  PPF in charge of the development of the Skills Program (Dr. Carla Dillon).
Our faculty and staff have been recognised by countless national organisations, as well as the university community. The following are just a handful of the many successes achieved this year:
  • Dr. Prasad Nishtala, ASCEPT Certara New Investigator Award
  • SiddarthMatikonda, Health Science Exceptional Thesis award
  • Dr. Shyamal Das – Premier Lecturer Award for the Division of Health Sciences
  • Honours student Ms. Sonja Bimler won the Blackmore Future Pharmacist of the year at the NZ Pharmacy awards
  • Professor Stephen Duffull, Felllowship in the International Society of Pharmacometrics
  • Associate Professor Rhiannon Braund, elected to the National Executive of PSNZ and became a Fellow of PSNZ
Congratulations to our next generation pharmacists who graduated this year. I encourage you to be innovative, be progressive and work with the rapid advancement of technology to meet the healthcare needs of our communities. Work to hone your patient care skills and assist with moving the profession forward. Because now, you are the profession, and the profession needs your energy, innovation and creativity to keep improving.  You can shape how you want your career to be, so do take the initiative and lead us into the future of Pharmacy.

A sincere thank you to our Otago alumni and external stakeholders for your continuing support to the University of Otago and the students of the School of Pharmacy. A special thank you to The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, The Pharmacy Council, The Pharmacy Guild and Green Cross Health for funding our inaugural events this year.

 Despite our many accomplishments, we fully recognise there are many challenges that we must tackle to maintain and expand our position at the University and in the healthcare system as pharmacists. At the University of Otago, our support staff have been in limbo with the ongoing support services review, and funding is tight in the university environment.  From a professional point of view, there have been challenges to remunerate the profession for expanding and evolving roles that translate into an expanded scope of practise.

Whereas these are challenging times, there is immense opportunity for us all to partner together to educate the next generations of pharmacist caregivers, to generate the evidence for health outcomes and cost-effective care that is required for the profession to move forward and to realise our potential in being among the most innovative practitioners in our health care system.
I wish you, your families and your loved ones good health and even greater happiness this holiday season, and I look forward to working with you in an exciting and abundant new year.
School of Pharmacy NEWS
Photography by Alan Dove

Otago School of Pharmacy Congratulates Graduates of 2017

4 PhD students, 1 Masters student, 9 BPharm Honours students and over 120 undergraduate students crossed the stage at the University of Otago graduation ceremony on Saturday 9th December 2017. The School of Pharmacy celebrated these students at the annual pre-graduation function held in the Link of the Information Services Building (Dunedin) on Friday 8th December 2017.

School Dean, Professor Carlo Marra opened the function with words of advice for the graduating students, “As many of you know, technology is really moving at a rapid rate. And technology will alternately help you as a professional.” Professor Marra encouraged them to use their clinical and patient focused skills and to become skilled healthcare providers, managing people’s medicines and preventing medication related problems.

School of Pharmacy’s inaugural Whānau Hui

The School of Pharmacy saw nine Māori tauira (students) graduate this year, initiating the first, whānau (family) hui (gathering), prior to the Health Science Māori Graduation Function and the School of Pharmacy Graduation Function on Friday 8th December 2017.

“Prevention is better than cure” quotes Fiji’s newest Doctor, Dr Sujita Narayan

One of four PhD students to graduate from the School of Pharmacy this December, Dr Sujita Narayan celebrates the success of being the first Fijian pharmacist from the Fiji School of Medicine (now Fiji National University) with a PhD. 

Read More
Pacific Pharmacy Group
A group of six Pacific Pharmacists meet with PHARMAC in Wellington on Friday 8th December, to workshop the formation of a Pacific Pharmacy Group. 

 “This is hopefully a step in the right direction for Pacific Pharmacists,” says University of Otago School of Pharmacy Pacific Advisor, Kasey Brown. Kasey initiated the New Zealand Pacific Island Pharmacy Group on Facebook in 2014, hoping that it would lead into the formation of a group like this.

The pharmacists plan to create a vision for the group over the next six months.
Back row, left to right: Dr Brian Betty (Porirua Union and Community Health Service), Professor Pauline Norris (School of Pharmacy), Kerri Osborne (Manager of Communications and External relations, Pharmac), Tanweer Shah (Pacific Pharmacist, Auckland), Salaseini Tikoimaleya (Pacific Pharmacist, Whanganui), Teresa Lepa (Pacific Pharmacist, Christchurch) and Matafanua Hilda Faasalele (Ministry of Health).

Front row, left to right: Kasey Brown (Pacific pharmacist, Wellington and Pacific Advisor, School of Pharmacy), Natalia Nu’u (Pacific Pharmacist, Auckland) and Diana Phone (Pacific Pharmacist, Auckland).

Pharmacy, a meaningful career to society

On interviewing 2017 Honours graduate, Bhamini Rangnekar, it was obvious she had found her niche in pharmacy. Bhamini’s love for people drives her interest in medicines research, a field of study that has proved to be a great success for this Otago student.

As a secondary school student in Hawkes Bay, Bhamini admits that a Bachelor in Pharmacy was never on her radar, “which is a pity because I think it is one of the most underrated fields in health,” comments Bhamini.

Bhamini hated chemistry and biology at school. If you asked her now she would say, “Chemistry is my favourite subject but that is because I now understand it. I don’t have to just memorise the reaction pathways like in high school. So, I know people say to use the subjects you like in school to choose your career, but I know that would have been bad advice for me because I loved physics and maths but I promise you, I would make a terrible engineer.”
School of Pharmacy EVENTS
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