FIPWiSE – FIP’s initiative for Women in Science and Education — has launched the FIPWiSE Rising Stars programme to highlight women in pharmaceutical sciences or pharmacy education (including pharmaceutical practice research) who are pathfinders in their fields, who are rising in their careers and who deserve to be recognised.
Inclusion in the list of FIPWiSE Rising Stars is not an established FIP award; it is a way to recognise women in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy education for their progress and achievements to support others, and it sits alongside existing mentorship programmes.
In 2022, the inaugural list of FIPWiSE Rising Stars has been compiled by the FIPWiSE panel. FIP sincerely extend its gratitude to the following colleagues who supported the assessment process of the applicants:
FIPWiSE panel members
- Catherine Duggan, FIP chief executive officer, The Netherlands
- Parisa Aslani, FIP Bureau member, Australia
- Carmen Peña, FIP Bureau member, Spain
FIPWiSE shortlisting panel members
- Claire Thompson (panel lead), FIPWiSE chair, UK
- Toyin Tofade, FIP academic pharmacy section, President, USA
- Mariam Gyasi, FIP-UNESCO UNITWIN centre for excellence for Africa, Ex-member, Ghana
- Charlotte Rossing, FIP Board of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Member, Denmark
- Rajani Shakya, FIP Academic Institutional Membership (AIM), Advisory committee member, Nepal
- Christina Chai, FIP Academic Institutional Membership (AIM), Member, Singapore
- Dalal Hammoudi Halat, FIP Academic Pharmacy Section, FIP officer, Lebanon
- Louisa Sullivan, FIP Young pharmacists group (YPG), President, USA
- Patricia Acuña-Johnson, FIP Academic Pharmacy Section, FIP Workforce development hub, FIP officer, Chile
- Lilian Azzopardi, FIP Academic Institutional Membership (AIM), Advisory committee member, Malta
We are pleased to announce the inaugural list of FIPWiSE Rising Stars. Below, they tell us about their professional highlights, their vision for pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences and their personal journeys:
FIPWiSE Rising Stars Video Chats
2022 FIPWiSE Rising Stars
I graduated in pharmacy from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2002, and spent four years in practice (one year in community pharmacy in the UK and three years in hospital pharmacy in Kuwait). In 2006, I was awarded a scholarship from the College of Pharmacy, Kuwait University, to continue my postgraduate studies, and I gained an MSc in clinical pharmacy and a PhD in pharmaceutical care from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. In 2013, I returned to Kuwait to start my career as an academic pharmacist, where I developed a special interest in medicines information and evidence-based pharmacy practice.
My top professional highlight by far is being part of the team to roll out the entry-to-practice PharmD programme at our college. I started as a member on the needs assessment working group, then as chair of the active learning and assessment working group, then as director of the add-on PharmD programme and later as the (first female) vice dean of academic and student affairs at our college in 2019. Another professional highlight is being awarded solidarity and creativity awards at the college level and, finally, being chosen as a member of the teaching excellence programme at Kuwait University.
My role model as an academic is my aunt, Prof. Badriya Al-Awadhi. She was the first (and only) female dean of the faculty of law at Kuwait University in the 1970s, and she led the fight for women’s rights to vote in Kuwait in the 1990s. As a youngster, I always looked up to her and witnessed her dedication to her career and her determination in achieving what was best for the profession and our country. This instilled in me a deep belief that, no matter how tough the journey is, with a good team and a clear vision we can do wonders.
As pharmacy education has evolved over the decades to be more patient-centred, my ambition for pharmacy education is to focus on developing a more structured approach to “learning in practice”. I believe that more needs to be done initially in class, to make learning more active, authentic and set in a complex social environment, where students can learn not only from us, but more importantly, from each other. Moreover, more efforts need to be made to improve experiential learning and inter-professional learning, which will allow students to experience the “grey” zones in practice while being guided and supported by academics and practitioners.
I received my bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Applied Science University in Jordan. I then pursued an MSc in pharmaceutics at UCL School of Pharmacy, London, where my research was aimed at exploring the potential of 3D printing for creating abuse-deterrent and alcohol-resistant formulations. Thereafter, I completed a PhD in pharmaceutics at the same institution, where my research was focused on fabricating drug delivery systems and implantable devices using 3D printing. Currently, I am working as a research fellow at UCL School of Pharmacy, looking into using 3D printing to improve colonic drug delivery.
Professional highlights include being named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2022 in its science and healthcare category, which recognises people under 30 years old and is issued annually by Forbes magazine. The European list recognise 300 business and industry figures, with 30 selected in 10 industries each. I was also named in MIT Technology Review MENA 2021’s 35 Under 35 list, which recognises young innovators under the age of 35 whose inventions and research are considered most exciting. I was also named as a world expert in printing by Expertscape, which recognised the top 0.1% of scholars in the field over the past 10 years.
I never intended to pursue a career in pharmacy; it was one of those things that I didn’t choose but rather it chose me. Looking back at it now, I am sure that I made the right decision. In my opinion, the power of pharmacy lies in the impact it has on people’s lives. This is what motivates me to continue in this field. So, to those youngsters out there, dreams and plans can change, and this shouldn’t be taken negatively but instead should be considered as an opportunity that, if grasped, could turn into a success story.
One of the early challenges that I had was getting myself to like pharmacy when I never intended to study it to begin with. At the start, all I saw were the things that I did not like about pharmacy. But then as time passed, I learnt to appreciate the good things and focus on the positive impact it has on people’s lives. In fact, the more I worked in this field, the more I found myself loving it. It gave me a whole new perspective on life and a new appreciation for science.
I am currently pursuing a career in academia and my future plans are to continue to do the research that I like, explore new things and share the knowledge with the whole world. In the long term, I aspire to make real difference in the field of pharmacy — a difference that would be significant enough to be remembered as my legacy as a scientist, and as a human. I want to make better medicines for those who need them and leave a fingerprint on other people’s lives. As an educator, I want to inspire the young generation and motivate them.
After working in a community pharmacy in Croatia for four years, I moved to London to participate in European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) traineeship programme. In the EMA I have worked in the Human Medicines Evaluation Division managing human medicines throughout their lifecycle. I currently work in the pharmaceutical industry as a European regulatory procedure strategist for emerging therapeutic areas to help patients overcome serious diseases.
I was an active contributor to the Rare2030 Foresight in Rare Disease Policy project, which aimed to contribute to European policy framework for rare diseases. Recommendations covering diagnosis, treatment, care, research, data and European and national infrastructures set out the roadmap for the next decade of rare disease policies to ensure that the future of 30 million people living with a rare disease is not left to chance. I am engaged in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programme for educating young students about the vast career opportunities in the STEM field. Working In the field of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs I am committed to solving complex problems to help drive healthcare forward with patients at the centre of everything I do.
There have been many challenges in my personal journey that I had to manage in order to be where I am today. All of them are equally dear to me and each one was an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. I have learnt that challenges in life are a given and only the intensity of the challenges is variable. I accept them as an unavoidable part of life and try to adapt and handle them with objective understanding.
I recognise the biggest public health crisis of our lifetimes as an opportunity to improve and to take the lessons that had to be learned in order to come out stronger. My vision is for pharmacists to be more recognised as medicines experts who take leadership of prescribing in all care settings and who optimise therapeutic outcomes for individual patients by having a clinical, prescribing role. As for the pharmaceutical sciences, I am excited to see faster innovation and improved regulatory decision-making.
I started working in community pharmacy at age 15. I saw pharmacy as exciting and constantly evolving. Since becoming a registered pharmacist, I’ve worked in many professional settings, including as a professional services pharmacist and managing different pharmacies. I also gained accreditation as a consultant pharmacist and started undertaking home medicines reviews. Completing my PhD in 2020 opened doors to international research groups and presenting at international conferences. As part of my PhD, I spent nine months exploring health systems, community pharmacy services and international pharmacy models in the United Kingdom and Europe. I have been a university lecturer and researcher for the past two years.
My research focuses on three important, interconnected areas: minor ailments, self-care and digital health literacy. Community pharmacists constantly manage minor ailments as part of their daily practice. Many patients seek care from emergency departments for lower urgency conditions, which is costly to the health system. These patients may be managed in primary care, such as in community pharmacy. We should work with all stakeholders to reduce this burden. Self-care and consumer empowerment are becoming increasingly important to patients and the healthcare system. Therefore, the role of the community pharmacist should encompass this societal need. We should educate pharmacists on how to teach people the skills to look after themselves and their families. Finally, health and digital literacy are vital — where individuals have the skills and knowledge to access, understand and use information to make important decisions about medicines and health.
Professional highlights include: being awarded the NSW Young Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia NSW branch in 2021; being appointed to the Expert Advisory Committee, leading the Review of Australia’s National Medicines Policy, by the Federal Government Department of Health in 2021; and being the youngest member elected to the FIP Community Pharmacy Section executive committee in 2021.
I recently had my first baby, and I’ve gained a greater understanding of the barriers for women with family and child-rearing responsibilities to progress into and maintain pharmacy leadership positions. FIP predicts that in 2030, 71% of the global pharmacist workforce will be women. We need a deeper understanding of the challenges women in pharmacy might face at critical points in their career and life and find solutions. And we need a strategic plan to support women (and men) to develop within the profession — in work and leadership positions — after a birth. We should promote a workplace culture where it is more comfortable for conversations with employers about starting a family or taking breastfeeding breaks.
Striving for excellence has underpinned my career through multiple achievements in contributing to pharmacy practice, teaching innovation and research, state and national policy, advocacy and pharmacy education. My philosophy on teaching and learning is to promote curiosity, critical thinking and challenge students to prepare them for a fast-paced, changing and exciting industry. Research is critical to create an evidence base and innovate in health care. Paramount to this is establishing and maintaining strong national and international partnerships and collaboration. My vision is to achieve evidence-based change in pharmacy practice — a health system that is highly integrated with a trained pharmacy workforce using their full scope of practice to optimise health and economic outcomes. Importantly, pharmacists must increasingly be part of primary care, which includes closer collaboration with medical practitioners. FIP plays a critical role in the evolution of international pharmacy, and I would wish to be able to contribute further in leadership positions.
I graduated with a bachelor of pharmacy with first class honours from Charles Darwin University in 2013. In 2014, I moved to Sydney to commence my PhD exploring pharmacists’ roles in perinatal mental healthcare at the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy. During my PhD, I concurrently completed a master’s degree in international public health at the Sydney School of Public Health in 2017. Since completing my PhD in 2018, I have been working at Sydney Pharmacy School, where I am currently a senior lecturer. I am committed to lifelong learning and in 2020 I completed a graduate certificate of educational studies (higher education).
My top three professional highlights are: being a successful applicant and receiving an Endeavour Research Fellowship during my PhD, which allowed me to spend four months at Dalhousie University, exploring my research in a Canadian context; getting a position at the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy after completing my PhD; and being awarded the 2022 Early Career Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia New South Wales.
My work involves delivering and evaluating mental health education and assessments for pharmacy students and pharmacists. I hope that over the course of my career I will continue to contribute to the evidence base in this area. Pharmacists are frontline, accessible primary healthcare professionals who often find themselves supporting people experiencing mental health problems and crises. My goal is for there to be a consistent standard of mental health education for all pharmacists so that they feel supported to confidently care for people experiencing mental illnesses and mental health crises.
I have been working on the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on pharmacy since my first years of university. I have created training programmes to advance the perspective of pharmacists and students in this field. In order to increase the algorithms that can be produced in this field, I founded a start-up called “Pharmaino” and I carry out my studies here. As a result of all these efforts, I am in the top 100 in the “Future Women Leaders” programme. In 2021, I won a Golden Mortar Award, known as the “Pharmacy Oscars”. I am the youngest pharmacist to win this award. I also teach AI courses in the field of pharmaceutical sciences at Trakya University. I write articles about pharmacy and AI to develop this field.
Thanks to my entrepreneurial aspects, I add a different perspective to my profession and produce AI-supported products. I am working to move my profession forward by combining pharmacy and AI and to spread the concept of “Pharmacy 4.0”. I try to convey my vision to pharmacists and students through the training programmes I have created and the courses I have given at the university.
AI is a very new topic in the pharmacy profession and among pharmacists. My biggest challenge was explaining to my colleagues that AI could improve pharmacy. I was young and I started telling when I was still a student. After working day and night for five years, being successful and seeing the benefits, I see that everyone around me is eager to work on this issue. I have many colleagues around me who consult me. While trying to do all these, graduating from university was my reward for the hard work.
My biggest dream about pharmacy education and pharmacy sciences is to carry my profession. I would very much like the lectures, conferences and courses on the integration of pharmacy and AI that I started in Turkey to spread all over the world. In addition, I want to contribute to the education and knowledge of pharmacists by producing algorithms in all fields of pharmacy (pharmacy, hospital, drug development, formulation design, molecule discovery, human experiments). My biggest passion is to see that, 10 years from now, my profession is integrated with technology and continues to be respected.
I received my PharmD degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2011, and completed my pharmacy practice and infectious disease residencies at the University of Chicago Medicine. I practised as an inpatient infectious disease pharmacist for about five years. These years had been instrumental in giving me a strong foundation in pharmacotherapy, clinical reasoning and interdisciplinary team work. Experiences in mentoring pharmacy students and residents also shaped my passion for education, and motivated me to pursue a clinical faculty position with the National University of Singapore. In my current role, I teach pharmacotherapy and pharmacy professional skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is most rewarding to know that my work will influence the practice of future generations of pharmacists in meaningful ways.
Transitioning from direct patient care to academia was a major career change. This was also a courageous move filled with uncertainties because I had little classroom teaching experiences then and, despite Singapore being my home town, I had minimal knowledge of its healthcare system and lacked professional networks since moving to the US for undergraduate studies. This challenging transition brought out the greatest strengths in my personality, i.e., courage, determination, resilience and a strong work ethic. The past five years at the National University of Singapore have been rewarding given the new experiences that I gained in teaching and educational scholarship.
As an educator, I hope to nurture lifelong learners who are passionate, motivated and self-directed to gain new knowledge and skills throughout their professional journey. Healthcare advances, pharmacy practice evolves and individual interests and career paths develop. The drive and ability to learn continuously will allow individuals to keep abreast of developments, discover new frontiers, and explore new interests.
Ling Wei Hii
I am a lecturer and licensed pharmacist from Malaysia with clinical and research experience. After I graduated with BPharm (Hons) degree, I worked as hospital pharmacist and gained experience in clinical pharmacokinetics. With a passion for research into better treatment, I decided to pursue postgraduate studies in 2013. I obtained my MSc and PhD with research strengths in drug discovery and development, and cancer and stem cell biology, respectively. Since 2013, I have been an active fellow researcher under the Centre for Cancer and Stem Cell Research, Institute for Research, Development and Innovation, International Medical University, Malaysia.
Despite having just received my PhD in 2021, my excellence in cancer research has been recognised by prestigious awards. I received a MAKNA (Majis Kanser Nasional-National Cancer Council) Cancer Research Award from the National Cancer Council of Malaysia and was awarded a Science and Technology Research Grant funded by Toray Science Foundation, Japan in 2020.
In 2021, I was selected by Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and Young Scientists Network-ASM (YSN-ASM) as one of the top 15 finalists for the YSN-ASM Chrysalis Award, as well as one of the top 12 finalists for Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment. I am also a pharmacist trainer for a nationwide safe medication disposal programme for community pharmacies.
As a mother of two, it is not easy for me to juggle between research, academic work and family. Work-life imbalance has always been a major challenge faced along my journey. There were also times that I did face certain types of discrimination as a woman in science. For instance, people might think that a mother with young children might not be able to go for overseas training due to family commitments, and thus wanted to give the opportunities to a man. Regardless, I overcame these and became who I am today thanks to my confidence, dedication and hard work.
I wish to synergise with FIP to achieve FIP Development Goal 12 (Pharmacy intelligence) with thoughtful innovation and strategies that foster a culture of open science and data-driven excellence for better decision-making. On the other hand, with my passion for green pharmacy, I hope to work further with FIP towards FIP DG 21 (Sustainability in pharmacy) with more mechanisms that minimise the impact of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy practice. Importantly, I also strive to support women and female students in science and education for FIP DG 10 (Equity and equality).
I am a healthcare service entrepreneur, researcher, trainer, community builder, pharmacist and academician. I hold a PhD in pharmacy practice from University Sains Malaysia and a post-doctorate in pharmacy practice from Northwest University, South Africa. I started my career as a teaching assistant at Hamdard University Islamabad in 2007 and currently serve as professor and director of the pharmacy department. I am the youngest and only female professor of pharmacy practice to date in Pakistan. In 2020, I founded Cyntax Health Projects, the first contract research organisation by a pharmacist in Pakistan registered with Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. Moreover, I also launched the first organic skincare and cosmetics formulated by pharmacists after extensive R&D and the first body positivity programme in Pakistan with the support of the US embassy.
My top three professional highlights are: being selected as the focal person for Euro-QoL in 2019, one of the top research organisation in the world, known for establishing value sets and transformation of health care system of more than 100 countries globally, for a full scale study of health valuation in Pakistan; being selected among the top 1% of pharmacy researchers of the world by Expertscape in 2021; and being awarded the Fatima Jinnah National Pride Award in 2021 by the Government of Pakistan for contributions towards pharmacy education. I have also been awarded the first Women Business Excellence award by the Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 2022 by the president of Pakistan.
Since my teenage years, I have been very goal-oriented. I had made a goal that I will complete my PhD before the age of 30 years when I was doing my bachelor’s degree. I worked hard and completed my PhD before the age of 30 years and became the youngest pharmacist from Pakistan to go for a post-doctorate.
There were a lot of challenges I had to face while excelling in the field and reaching where I am today. Completing my higher education along with a full time job was a challenge, as I had to balance between studies, work and family. Another challenge faced during my promotion to professor was the bias of decision makers based on gender and young age. Male counterparts having ample years of experience are significantly perceived as more competent than females, especially in the South-East Asian region, due to cultural norms. Female healthcare professionals have to work harder to achieve a leadership position, especially pharmacists, as they are already not well acknowledge as professionals, and I had to face these obstacles to reach my current position.
The present and future era is of technology. My goal is to shape and reinvent pharmacy education curricula and teaching practices in Pakistan by adopting digital technologies and including health technology assessment. Curricula that promote development of specialised competencies for cognitive and conscious use of digital tools is required, and I aim to train the future workforce in using such technologies for enhancing pharmaceutical care and pharmacy services in Pakistan. Moreover, I would like to train pharmacy graduates as future entrepreneurs, which is currently the missing link in our pharmacy education.
Priscilla Kolibea Mante
I obtained a BPharm and PhD in pharmacology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. I have received post-doctoral training at the University of Michigan, USA. I am currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology, KNUST. Additionally, I am the principal investigator for the Mantelab Research Group. My research aims to identify bioactive substances from nature that are safer and cheaper therapeutic options for management of central nervous system related conditions such as epilepsy and depression. Additionally, my group is working on developing a portable, minimally invasive device that reduces the cost of diagnosing mental conditions and improves therapy using patients’ genetic information.
In 2019, I was the only African recipient, and one of 15 in total, of the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talent Award. I also went on to win the 2019 OWSD (Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World) Early Career Fellowship and named a 2019 Quartz Africa Innovator.
Born to two teachers, I grew up on a school campus. Growing up, through my early years, I was a straight A student. I knew I could be anything I wanted but struggled with impostor syndrome. Even though I really wanted to pursue science, I opted to study humanities in high school out of fear of failing at science. I eventually changed to science after falling back behind my peers in high school. I confronted my fears. I excelled brilliantly in my class despite starting late. My success in that high school class was confirmation that science was for me.
My great ambition is to find a cure for epilepsy and bring comfort to the many millions of people living with the condition.
I completed my BPharm at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and undertook my preregistration internship at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. I have over nine years of broad experience in community and hospital pharmacy, public health, medical communications and global health research. I completed my MSc in clinical pharmacy, international practice and policy at University College London and a postgraduate certificate in research methods at GCU (Glasgow Caledonian University). I am currently undergoing PhD training in antimicrobial resistance (AMR). My research interests span pharmacy practice research, global health issues—with a key focus on AMR, and implementation research.
In 2014, I joined the LiveWell Initiative (LWI) as a postgraduate intern/academy officer. The experience at LWI shaped my growth beyond traditional pharmacy practice. I picked up important skills, quickly learnt how to work and collaborate with people from different disciplines and was recognised as the best intern that year. A second highlight was serving within FIP’s Young Pharmacist Group and leading the publication of a first-of-its-kind “Career development toolkit for early career pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists” in 2020. I was also selected by McKinsey & Company as a Next Generation Women Leader for 2021.
In secondary school I initially wanted to become an electrical engineer because I was fascinated by physics and enjoyed technical drawing. However, I became less interested in these towards the end of my secondary school education and found myself drawn more to biology and chemistry. Being confused, I had a discussion with my family, asking them if there was any sort of degree that combined biology and chemistry and my cousin mentioned pharmacy. I ran with that and read anything I could about pharmacy and since then I have neither looked back nor regretted my decision to be a pharmacist.
My goal is to work within and lead interdisciplinary health services research with the potential to influence healthcare policy. Particularly, I have a long-term vision to be part of the growth of clinical pharmacy and the development of pharmacy-led services, especially in Nigeria where these are not well developed. Additionally, I am passionate about creating career development resources for early-career professionals because I believe with access to the right advice and networks they can thrive and have impactful careers.
After registering as a pharmacist, I worked in community pharmacy for a number of years. Our pharmacy provided services to a local community mental health team, and I became really interested in how pharmacists could support people living with mental illness to manage their medicines better. I then completed a PhD in mental health pharmacy education, and this led me to my current role as a research and teaching academic at The University of Sydney School of Pharmacy.
My top three professional highlights are: co-leading the PharMIbridge RCT (“Bridging the gap between physical and mental illness in community pharmacy”), an AUD 4.7m-funded grant testing the effectiveness of a community pharmacist-led intervention for people living with severe and persistent mental illness in Australia; serving as the first pharmacist on the Australian Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), as a ministerial appointee for five years until December 2020 (the MSAC provides advice to the federal government on the strength of evidence for the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of medical technologies); and implementing mental health first aid training for all final-year pharmacy students at the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy (this has now seen more than 1,800 pharmacy students trained since 2015, helping many cohorts of future pharmacists feel more confident in supporting people experiencing mental health crises).
I developed an interest in mental healthcare after I had a number of experiences as a young community pharmacist where I encountered people who were experiencing suicidal thoughts or who were acutely psychotic. These experiences made me realise we needed to better prepare future pharmacists to handle mental health crisis situations. I then embarked on a PhD at the University of Sydney developing and evaluating new training programmes to improve pharmacists’ knowledge and confidence in supporting people living with mental illness in their communities.
I am passionate about improving the confidence and comfort of pharmacists to take on broader roles in supporting people living with mental illness. Pharmacists are knowledgeable, accessible and trusted healthcare professionals who have an important role to play as part of the multidisciplinary mental healthcare team. My vision is focused on building a broader platform for the delivery of pharmacist-led mental health services and upskilling the pharmacy profession to be able to provide mental health support to their communities.
I knew I wanted to become a pharmacist when I was in high school. From there on there has been no looking back. Upon receiving my degree and licensure to practise as a pharmacist in Ontario, Canada, I started to work in community pharmacy first. Then I went back to university to pursue my PharmD degree at the University of Waterloo, after which I shifted gear to hospital, government and home care settings. During the pandemic, I founded my entrepreneurial venture, Acuvise Consultancy Inc., where I serve as the principal consultant. We serve start-ups by providing them with their go-to-market strategy along with tapping into my healthcare expertise to assess the viability of the start-up idea. I started my podcast, “Diverse conversations with Aska Patel”, where I discuss the future of pharmacy, healthcare and health technologies with global industry experts and leaders.
I spent the early years of my childhood in India and was convinced that I wanted to be a physician. However that dream changed when I and my family emigrated to Canada when I was 12 years old. I had to volunteer in the community as part of my high school curriculum requirement, which I luckily was able to do at my father’s friend’s pharmacy. It was hosting a health and wellness clinic and I was helping out with setting up and running errands. It was the best time, and I got to see first-hand what pharmacists do. I was not aware of pharmacy as a profession until that day. I decided to help out with other events at the pharmacy as they took place over the next year and the more I learnt about what a pharmacist does, the more I was convinced that this was the profession for me. I enjoyed the ability to speak with patients and see first-hand how much the patients valued the pharmacist’s opinions. I learnt how versatile this profession is and how many pathways exist to build a career of your dreams. At the age of 14 years, I had decided that I was going to become a pharmacist and I have never looked back on my decision. Joining the pharmacy profession has been one of the best decisions of my life.
My ambition with my pharmacy education has been two-fold. One aspect is to positively impact patients’ lives through my role as a pharmacist and another is to further solidify pharmacists’ role in healthcare globally. Pharmacists have proven their place in healthcare time and again, however, there is a lot pharmacists can do to further alleviate healthcare system burden and by bringing healthcare closer to patients where they need it. I work towards this vision every day and hope to contribute to the efforts of FIP as well as many other regional associations globally.
Elsa López Pintor
I have a degree in pharmacy, a master’s degree in pharmaceutical care and I hold my doctoral degree in pharmacy (2010) from UMH (Universidad Miguel Hernández-Miguel Hernández University) where I work as a teacher and researcher in the faculty of pharmacy. My area of expertise is focused on pharmaceutical care and rational use of medicines. I have supervised several doctoral theses, assessed numerous undergraduate and masters’ dissertations, and promoted a specific master’s degree for community pharmacists. I am a member of the Global Health Research group, which is committed to tackling health inequalities, and, at a national level, I am a member of CIBERESP, the Spanish public centre of excellence in epidemiological investigation. I am very active in knowledge transfer activities, collaborating as a scientific-technical advisor for pharmaceutical companies and other entities. I have been recently invited to join the Academy of Pharmacy of the Valencian Community as a corresponding academic.
My professional highlights are: As vice dean in the UMH pharmacy faculty (2008 to 2011), I led the adaptation of the syllabus to European Higher Education Area standards, giving greater weight to the healthcare aspect of pharmacy education. I led a pioneering line of research in Spain in epidemiological studies based on real-world data from the daily clinical practice of community and hospital pharmacists. My scientific production includes national and international projects, publications in high-impact journals, books and research awards. At the international level, I co-authored the regional roadmap for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) success in pharmacy (2021–2024) of the partenariat FIP-GRIP(Global Respiratory Infection Partnership)-Reckitt Benckiser and have been an advocate for Europe in the AMR FIP webinars in 2020 and 2021. As a member of the European Innovation Partnership of Adherence and Healthy Ageing, I co-authored a chapter in the book ‘Adherence to medical plans for active and healthy ageing’.
My path at the university has not been easy, as it has meant starting a completely new line of work related to pharmaceutical care. This discipline was not included in the curricula and I took on the challenge of developing this area in both teaching and research practically from scratch. I had to create a work team, establish synergies, and obtain resources for research and publications in impact journals, while ensuring the standards required by the university were met. Achieving this also implies a lot of time invested in networking with key stakeholders. This inevitably impacted my personal life. I have two young daughters and I have had to find a balance between work and family life.
My ambition is to consolidate pharmacy practice as an academic discipline, which involves creating specific departments to carry out quality teaching and research that nurtures the content of the discipline. This is not a reality in Spain yet. I also seek to create a leading workforce of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, equipping them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to address current and future challenges for pharmacy, such as the implementation of advanced integrated services, digitalisation and tele-pharmacy, sustainable pharmacies or the fight against AMR.
I am a senior lecturer (associate professor) in translational pharmaceutics at the University of Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. I am a registered pharmacist, and I obtained my MPharm in 2008 and a PhD in drug delivery in 2013 from the University of Manchester. Three of my professional highlights to-date Include contribution to a clinically approved product — BYDUREON Bcise — from my time at AstraZeneca, and my research at the Yale School of Medicine in collaboration with Patrys Ltd led to four patents and a product that is currently under investigation for the treatment of glioblastoma. I was successful in 2021 in securing and setting up a UK national facility for measuring nanomaterials for health funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.
What inspired me to pursue a career in pharmacy and drug development was my early encounter with cancer during my teenage years. My grandmother died of glioblastoma when I was 11, and my sister was diagnosed with leukaemia when I was 13 and, while caring for my sister and younger brother, I was fascinated by the range of chemotherapy drugs used in the clinic and their mechanisms of action. Years spent in the clinic and discussions with my sister’s oncology team inspired me to pursue a career in pharmacy and drug development research. I always use my experiences as a reminder to place the patient at the heart of my research.
My vision is for pharmaceutical sciences to be a diverse and inclusive environment for all. I want the next generations of scientists to view pharmaceutical sciences as a vibrant and level field in which they can grow and play an active enabling role in nurturing the future of pharmaceutical sciences and delivering the next-generation of healthcare and medicines to patients.
A career is a journey and not a destination. My intrinsic motivation to improve patient safety has led me to take on roles that allowed me to progressively have a larger impact on patients, starting from the intricate and micro details of the daily pharmacy operations and evolving to the macro health system level. I started my career as a community pharmacist. I then transitioned to hospital pharmacy as pharmacist and manager, to academia as an educator and mentor to future pharmacists, and then as a pharmacy regulator initially in Ontario and then in New Brunswick.
My top professional highlight occurred when a pharmacy professional on my team who was involved in a medication error asked “How is the patient?”. That was a really a defining moment for me as it provided evidence of the safety culture that I was cultivating, and a major shift from the blaming culture that existed.
A second professional highlight was the development of the minor ailments regulations In Ontario as I was involved in this regulation from its inception, but most importantly this regulatory framework recognises the knowledge of pharmacists and enables them to be part of the primary care solution.
A third professional highlight was the strengthening of the roles of pharmacy professionals in New Brunswick as they can now assess and prescribe for more common medical conditions. This is only enabled by providing a scope of practice for pharmacy technicians, who are integral to the medication management system.
Since I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to be the friendly community pharmacist with the white coat. From a young age, I could see that pharmacy professionals were accessible and often interacting with patients and having an impact on patients’ lives. After obtaining my PharmD, I returned to my small home town and worked at that very same community pharmacy that inspired me to become a pharmacist.
Pharmacy professionals have demonstrated the impact that they have on patient care and the healthcare system. They have the skills and competences to address health disparities. Yet, pharmacy professionals are mainly associated with the dispensing of pills. My vision is that pharmacy professionals are viewed among the broader community as part of their care, part of the team that ensures the most appropriate medication therapy, and recognised for their human interactions — and that the images we use to represent pharmacy depict this.
Fernanda Stumpf Tonin
My scientific career began with an internship at the pharmacology department of the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil) during my pharmacy course (2008–2013). This experience aroused my interest in research topics related to pharmacotherapy optimisation and patient-centred decision-making. Shortly after, I was able to shape my “researcher profile” towards pharmacy practice due to an international internship at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). I obtained my master’s (2015) and PhD degrees (2019) in pharmacy in Brazil and Portugal. Currently, I am the vice chair of FIP’s Pharmacy Practice Research Special Interest Group, and I work as a research associate and provide consultancy in healthcare.
I believe that besides my family and friends’ support and hard work to develop a minimum set of technical and scientific competences over the years, my networking skills were paramount to get me started in several projects worldwide (Latin America, Europe, US, Australia). I can proudly say that I am internationally recognised by peers for my research contributions, totalling over 75 articles, 10 books and chapters, and nine awards. Finally, I highlight the Best PhD thesis award (2020) received from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Brazil), which fosters important discussions to improve the dissemination of knowledge, especially in low and middle-income countries.
I am very lucky to have a family that has always valued education and encouraged me to pursue a professional career in healthcare. My grandmother was a pharmacist who immigrated from Germany during the war. Since I was a child, I saw in her an unparalleled wisdom and kindness towards other people. She was the first woman to earn a degree in pharmacy at her university in 1933 (before that, only men were allowed in the field). She was the reason I chose my profession, and to this day I look up to her to make many personal and professional decisions.
After almost 10 years of studies and hard work in pharmacy practice and health economics and outcomes research, I am still passionate about what I do. My current major ambition is to share knowledge in both integral, universal and efficient ways. I seek to improve science communication by means of best practices in research, promotion of students’ courses and training, use of social media and participation in scientific (conferences, seminars) and networking events to discuss with a broad audience (public, scientific community, funding organisations) the challenges in pharmacy practice.
Farah Marie Towfic
Following my professional education at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, I completed an executive residency In association management and leadership with the American Pharmacists Association In Washington, D.C. This experience enabled me to build my understanding of the opportunities for the pharmacy profession, advocacy for patient access to pharmacist services, and education and skills, and capability building efforts for pharmacists. I then applied these insights through direct patient care roles at progressive, patient-centred pharmacies in Wisconsin and Iowa to adopt technology to lead to efficiencies that drive greater capacity for patient interactions by the pharmacist.
My professional highlights include: leading USP’s work In collaboration with our scientific expert committees to create the USP COVID-19 Vaccine Handling Toolkit and building practitioner confidence In the medicines supply chain; facilitating the adoption of technology across multiple independent community pharmacies that created significant time for patient interactions, improved the patient experience through synchronised refill of monthly medications, and improved pharmacist job satisfaction by enabling time for patient interaction that enables pharmacists to practise to the top of their license through collaborative practice agreements (e.g., diabetes education, smoking cessation programmes, immunisations, etc.); and chairing the University of Iowa Genesis Board, whose mission is to foster student success and facilitate soft skills development for student pharmacists. I enjoy mentoring students and young pharmacists across multiple schools of pharmacy and helping them build upon their impact.
I’ve made many moves across countries in my life, from my childhood moves from Iraq, Turkey and Cyprus to adult moves within the United States in Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia and Maryland. These experiences have all helped me overcome language barriers by learning new languages quickly and adapting to several different cultures. I think this has helped build my global mindset and ability to adapt to changing environments quickly. I greatly enjoy being able to participate in new experiences, problem solve and learn, and I believe this to be the product of my numerous moves and the challenges that came with them. I'm so fortunate to have had those experiences to shape my personality and the way I adapt to change.
I hope to help build practitioner understanding around the medicine supply chain and what components help expand the supply of quality medicines around the world. While the medicine supply chain is global, we, as pharmacists, know that the world’s highest quality medicine does not deliver its purpose if a patient doesn’t take It. I hope to apply my professional pharmacy training and understanding of the pharmaceutical supply chain towards building practitioner confidence in and tools to expand the supply of quality medicines.
Irene S. Um
I had the opportunity to complete an honours project during my pharmacy degree. This experience led me to undertake a PhD after completing my internship in a community pharmacy. During my PhD, I still practised as a pharmacist and was involved in teaching at the university, including developing workshop content, facilitating tutorials and demonstrating practicals. There was one international conference where I spent some social time with my female research supervisors and got to see the “life of an academic”. I applied for a scholarly teaching fellowship and started my academic pathway.
My professional highlights include: being a part of the academic procession for the pharmacy student graduation ceremony, which is an annual highlight — seeing the graduates celebrating this special event with loved ones is especially rewarding; taking my first cohort of interns through their pharmacy internship year as their programme director, being able to contribute to their professional development, and watching them transition from student to independent pharmacist; and being selected as a FIPWiSE Rising Star — it is truly humbling being recognised by FIP, but being nominated by a senior academic colleague whom I look up to makes it extra special.
The main challenge I continue to overcome is impostor syndrome. There have been many instances where I have walked into a room full of accomplished and intelligent people, feeling out of place and doubting the value I bring. Through the support, belief and encouragement of generous colleagues, mentors and sponsors, I have gained confidence in myself, and changed my attitude to seeing every situation as an opportunity to learn.
I have learnt and developed so much since completing my pharmacy degree, which really was just the starting point. My goal in pharmacy education is to instil professional attitudes in students and equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners so that as pharmacists we can embrace the emerging roles in patient care and effectively contribute to global health challenges.
I started working as a lecturer and then associate professor at IES (Infotech Education Society) Institute of Pharmacy. I got promoted to dean for student welfare and professor at Bhabha University, Bhopal, and I now work as principal, IITM (Institute of Information Technology and Management) (Department of Pharmacy) and dean for student and women’s welfare, IES University, Bhopal, India.
I have received international travel grants from many government bodies to present my work or deliver keynote speeches in such countries as Dubai, China, Thailand and USA. I have published more than 45 research articles, seven books and three Indian patents.
In my childhood I dreamt of being an educationist and social worker, while simultaneously wanting to walk the ramp and participate in beauty pageants. My family was not so supportive of my participation in beauty pageants but I won the completion and my family was later very happy about that and supported me a lot. Being Mrs India International gave me an opportunity to engage with my society and pharmacy professionals and that also supported my social work a lot, and helped break biases and stereotypes in society.
My vision is to advance societal health through leadership in pharmacy education, research, community engagement, and improved patient care and thereby build a gender-equal environment.
FIP would like to express its sincere gratitude to Nagai Foundation for supporting FIPWiSE’s activities in 2022.