The University of Newcastle, Australia

Pharmacists Supporting Their Own

Monday, 16 April 2018

In 2006, Chris Piggott, former president of the Newcastle & Hunter Valley Pharmacists Association (NHVPA) recognised an opportunity, one which has no doubt enhanced pharmacy in the Hunter region and beyond.

Olivia Thornton

By partnering with The University of Newcastle (UON) and establishing the UON Pharmacy Fund, the NHVPA created a means for pharmacists in the Hunter region to connect, nurture and support upcoming pharmacists and research in their field. The group not only supports students and research financially, they are actively involved with students and encourage them to stay and use their expertise in the Hunter region.

Thanks to its many generous supporters, since establishment the fund has provided more than 10 scholarships and prizes, enabling promising pharmacy students to pursue their dreams; the initial scholarship recipient of the Fund being Olivia Thornton, who is now a member of the NHVPA herself.

Undertaking a Master of Pharmacy at The University of Newcastle in 2008, Olivia struggled to afford a functioning laptop, which made studying difficult. However in the second year of her degree, Olivia was the recipient of the Fund’s Master of Pharmacy Scholarship. “Financially [my scholarship] helped provide a computer and textbooks. I still had to work, but it took away some financial pressure.”

For Olivia the scholarship was more than monetary, it was a gesture which made her feel supported and valued within the greater pharmacy community. “To know that the local community supports the education of upcoming pharmacists is incredibly helpful.”

“If you want to help enhance the outcomes for students, as well as promote the advancement of pharmacy practice research, I think donations to scholarship funds are important.”

Olivia is now an Associate Lecturer within the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy at the University, and is passionate about supporting and inspiring the pharmacists of tomorrow. “It’s an important role; if you don’t produce quality graduates you won’t produce quality pharmacists.”

Since the establishment of the UON Pharmacy Fund, it has grown to support a PhD scholarship (The Duncan Cruickshank Memorial PhD Scholarship in Pharmacy), an undergraduate scholarship (The Duncan Cruickshank Shaping Futures Scholarship in Pharmacy), and The Professor Shane Scott Memorial Award for Excellence.

NHVPA, and their involvement with pharmacy at the University is a great example of industry and alumni engagement, and of being actively involved with both students and research to facilitate industry advancement and benefit the communities in which they operate.

If you would like to give to the UON Pharmacy Fund, visit and specify ‘UON Pharmacy Fund’ in the free text field.

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