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JCU pharmacists take top awards

Written By

Nicolette Ward

College

Publish Date

8 December 2021

Related Study Areas

JCU pharmacy staff and alumni recognised in awards

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia recently recognised outstanding efforts at their Queensland Pharmacy Awards. Townsville based community pharmacist Andrew Calabro was awarded Queensland Early Career Pharmacist; Professor Beverley Glass was awarded Fellow of PSA; and Remote Pharmacy Academic and Mount Isa based community pharmacist Selina Taylor was awarded Queensland Pharmacist of the Year.

JCU pharmacy alumni Andrew Calabro is a familiar face for many students at the Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus. Together with his twin brother Daniel, Andrew has been running the on-campus pharmacy as owner/operator. But as well as that, Andrew has just been awarded as Queensland’s Early Career Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), which is open to pharmacists in the first ten years of their practice.

JCU’s expertise in pharmacy was further recognised with two of its academics also taking out awards. Remote Pharmacy Academic and Mount Isa based community pharmacist Selina Taylor was awarded by the PSA as Queensland’s Pharmacist of the Year for 2021, and Professor of Pharmacy, Beverley Glass, was awarded as a PSA Fellow.

Andrew Calabro, Professor Beverly Glass, Selina Taylor, Professor John Smithson and Shane MacDonald at the awards ceremony
Selina Taylor and Professor Beverly Glass
Andrew Calabro, Prof Beverly Glass, A/Prof John Smithson and Selina Taylor. Right: Prof Beverly Glass and Selina Taylor. Images supplied by: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

Andrew Calabro – Qld Early Career Pharmacist of the Year

JCU pharmacy alumni Andrew Calabro is a familiar face for many students at the Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus. Together with his twin brother Daniel, Andrew has been running the on-campus pharmacy as owner/operator since 2019.

Graduating from JCU in 2012, Andrew started out doing his intern year at a community pharmacy in his hometown of Innisfail. The opportunity to take on more responsibilities soon followed which saw Andrew then take on the role as pharmacy manager as well as be accredited to undertake home medication reviews. However, Andrew and his brother, also a pharmacist, had ambitions to own their own pharmacy and so moved to Townsville to take up the reigns at the on-campus pharmacy at JCU.

Throughout this time Andrew was also active in reviving Queensland’s PSA’s Early Career Pharmacist committee, taking on the role of group secretary and increasing the committee’s engagement with members on issues affecting the profession.

This has culminated in Andrew providing advice that has aided the PSA’s development of consultation reports and submissions to government, which has according to the PSA, ‘enhanced the role of community pharmacists by having a greater level of responsibility and accountability for medicines management as a result.’

“It began as just a commitment to attend meetings but then taking on the role of secretary, I started to get more involved, especially in relation to canvassing member’s views on revisions to legal regulations and bills that were being presented to parliament on topics such as poisons advice, medicine regulations and most recently, the Voluntary Assisted Dying bill,” said Andrew.

“I discovered that the intersection between health and law is where my passion lies, and even presented my own independent submission to the Queensland Parliament on the Medicines and Poisons Act. I am also studying towards a Master’s in Law.

“For the voluntary assisted dying bill, I put in a submission to the Queensland Law Reform Commission, from a pharmacy perspective, and what skills pharmacists needed to have for this. For example, even though there is a provision in the legislation for what's called a conscientious objection, for practitioners who have ethical and religious views that disagree with supplying the medicines for voluntary assisted dying, they would still need to refer the patient on to another practitioner so that the patient is still presented with a choice.

“In terms of updates on other medicine regulations, the focus has been on medicine safety particularly with high-risk drugs such as opioids and protecting the public from the harm these medicines can present. Queensland has recently introduced a real time prescription monitoring service for these high-risk drugs which aims to address these sorts of issues by alerting the pharmacist to the person’s prescription history.”

Andrew’s advice for early career pharmacists and for pharmacy graduates in particular is to go rural.

“For me, doing my internship in a rural town like Innisfail and the skills that I learnt while doing that, really helped to set my career up. And I’m very proud to be getting recognition of these skills by receiving the PSA award for Early Career Pharmacist.”

The Early Career Pharmacist of the Year award is open to pharmacists in the first ten years of their practice.

Selina Taylor – Qld Pharmacist of the Year

Queensland Pharmacist of the Year for 2021 was awarded to Mount Isa based community pharmacist and Remote Pharmacy Academic at JCU’s Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health, Selina Taylor.

Selina is a strong advocate for an expanded scope of practice for rural and remote pharmacists while also being active in the research space and undertaking her PhD on the topic of expanded pharmacy practice with a focus on ear health in rural and remote communities.

"Community pharmacists have an amazing skill set and a huge amount of knowledge, but currently a lot of our focus is around supply of medication,” she said. “I'd like to think if we can develop a really exciting scope of practice, we're going to have more people who want to be part of pharmacy in rural and remote areas."

“My work has been about trying to shift that focus to utilise our skills and knowledge to address some of those healthcare gaps in rural and remote communities. For example, the LISTEN UP project has seen ear health services being delivered in two rural communities in a collaborative model of care.”

Selina was previously awarded the PSA's Intern of the Year award back in 2009 and said it was rewarding and fulfilling to still be serving the community a decade later. "Going above and beyond is often not easy to do, so that was really exciting - a decade on to be recognised for the work we're doing out here is really humbling.”

She also hopes the award might give other pharmacists in rural and regional areas the motivation to consider research in their own areas.

Read more about Selina’s work with the Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health in hearing the need in Queensland’s remote communities .

Professor Beverley Glass – PSA Fellow

JCU Professor of Pharmacy, Beverley Glass, has been a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for 20 years, and is a long-standing lecturer on JCU’s pharmacy program while being active on various topics of research such as pharmaceutical care for transgender people and an expanded scope of practice for rural pharmacists. She is also the PhD supervisor for Selina Taylor.

Beverley was awarded a PSA Fellowship Honoris for her sustained and outstanding contribution to the PSA and to the pharmacy profession, within both the national and international context of pharmacy education, research and practice.

“I am humbled and honoured to become a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and to be recognised in this way by the profession,” she said.

“Recognition by the PSA and the potential to collaborate with the Society going forward, also highlights the importance of my current work with Selina Taylor ensuring that pharmacists are working to their full scope of practice.  This is especially needed to address workforce shortages and to recognise that expanded roles for pharmacists will improve health outcomes for rural and remote communities.”

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