-As Virtual Pharmacy, Michael Rouse, Others Receive Global Awards
It was awards galore at the opening ceremony of the 81st World Congress of Pharmacists and Pharmaceuticals holding in Brisbane, Australia on Sunday, as a Pharmacy initiative of the Irish Pharmacy Union Ireland(IPU) to support victims of domestic abuse and coercive control was announced as the winner of the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP’s) 2023 Health Promotion Campaign Award.
This was even as the FIP’s 2023 Pharmaceutical Education Organisational Award went to Monash University, Australia, for its development of “MyDispense”- a free online simulation that helps provide a safe environment for pharmacy students to hone their dispensing skills.
Michael Rouse of the USA, was also recognised with FIP’s highest honour for pharmacy educators: the Exceptional Award in Pharmaceutical Education. Mr Rouse currently works as assistant executive director and director of international services at the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the US national accrediting body for pharmacy education.
While fifteen more pharmacy professionals from 12 countries receive global awards of excellence.
Dermot Twomey, IPU president, explaining the morale for their campaign, said it is estimated that one in four women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner. Domestic abuse victims may have difficulty making contact safely with the support they need, as their movements and access to phones may be monitored and limited so the goal of the “Safe Pharmacy” initiative was to provide a safe space to access support services.
The campaign was led by IPU in partnership with An Garda Síochána (the Irish police service), the Health Service Executive and the charity “Safe Ireland”.
Twomey disclosed how trained staff in pharmacies who participated in the initiative offered private consultation rooms and telephone access so that survivors can make contact with a support service of their choice. These pharmacies also raised awareness of the campaign and maintained an accurate and up-to-date list of local support services.
Since its launch through a public awareness campaign in July 2022, over 1,087 pharmacies — 59 per cent of community pharmacies in Ireland — have signed up to the initiative and voluntarily registered as a Safe Pharmacy, he stated.
“A key strength of this initiative has been the development of strong cross-sectoral partnerships and this award is the recognition that such an approach is both important and effective. We are proud that so many pharmacies have chosen to participate in this national initiative and, most importantly, we are proud that many people have now taken that important first step towards accessing help because of Safe Pharmacy,” he said.
Speaking on the Virtual Pharmacy Platform Award, Marian Costelloe, manager of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences of Monash University, described unsafe medication practices and medication errors as leading causes of injury and avoidable harm in healthcare systems across the world.
She explained the goal of MyDispense was to help pharmacy schools link theoretical training with the mastery of practical skills. “With MyDispense, students can practise their dispensing skills and receive instant and tailored feedback. For example, students can see virtual representations of patients, prescriptions, medicines, dispensary labels and note-taking tools. There are also web links to legally required pharmacy references, and educators can utilise over 4,172 medicines that can be prescribed to 1,659 virtual patients.
“Since its launch in 2010, the programme has been shared at no cost with 242 institutions across 42 countries. As of July 2023, more than 55,000 students have logged in over 742,300 times to complete nearly two million exercises.
“It’s been wonderful to engage with pharmacy educators across the globe as we continue to build the MyDispense community. What makes MyDispense unique is the way it ensures equity of education access for everyone — from students of resource-poor pharmacy schools in low- and middle-income countries, through the Ivy Leagues,” Costelloe said.
The fifteen other pharmacy professionals recognised for excellence at the Congress are as follows:
FIP Olivier Bugnon Award (mid-career, pharmacy practice): Dr Shellyza Sajwani (Canada) ; Early Career in Pharmaceutical Science Recognition Award: Dr Chun-Wai Mai (Malaysia) ; Joseph A. Oddis Award for Exceptional Service to FIP: Ms Ema Paulino (Portugal).
While the followings bagged FIP Fellowship: Dr Waël E. Abi-Ghanem (Lebanon); Prof. Rula M. Darwish (Jordan); Dr Josep M. Guiu Segura (Spain); Ms Tara Hehir (Australia);Prof. Dai John (UK); Prof. Aukje Mantel-Teeuwisse (Netherlands); Dr Thomas E. Menighan (USA) ; Dr Didier Mouliom Ngambe (Cameroon); Dr Joseph Nicolazzo (Australia); Prof. Giovanni Pauletti (USA); Ms Samira Shammas Goussous (Jordan); and Ms Mary Wang (China Taiwan).