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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

NACCHO-Sanofi partnership paves the way for new pharmacist scholarships

Health Industry Hub | May 21, 2024 |

Pharma News: NACCHO has revealed the successful recipients of the 2024 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacist Scholarship, supported by a grant from Sanofi Australia. This initiative offers financial aid and guidance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students pursuing a pharmacy career, with the aim of improving the representation of the First Nations communities within the pharmacist workforce.

Dean Webber, one of the 2024 scholarship recipients, expressed his gratitude, stating, “Through the lens of my heritage and the guiding light of education, this NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island Pharmacist Scholarship embodies the profound journey of resilience, opportunity, and cultural pride. It’s not just financial support; it’s a bridge to realising dreams, honouring ancestral wisdom, and empowering generations to come. It signifies the fusion of tradition and modernity, where healing and knowledge converge to shape a brighter future for my community and beyond.”

Another scholarship recipient, Shi-Anne Wallace, shared her excitement, saying, “I am a proud aboriginal woman apart of the Mamu mob, in the Innisfail region of far north Queensland. Receiving this scholarship means the world to me! It gives me to opportunity to be able to do what is best for my study and my career without the constant worry about the expenses of everyday living. I have more time to dedicate to my studies and be able to aim higher than ever before. This offer is life changing and I cannot wait to see where I go and what I can do with this support behind me.”

Despite there being over 35,000 pharmacists in Australia, only about 100 identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, representing less than 0.3% of the pharmacist workforce. Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals constitute only 1.8% of the total health workforce, despite comprising 3.2% of the Australian population. This imbalance affects patients, policy, and pharmacists themselves.

Dr Dawn Casey, Deputy CEO of NACCHO, congratulated this year’s scholarship recipients, remarking, “The quality of applicants was outstanding once again. We wish you all the best in your pharmacy studies and look forward to supporting you in your professional journey.”

Liz Selby, Sanofi Australia and New Zealand Country Lead, echoed these sentiments, adding, “Building the skills of future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pharmacists is essential for ensuring culturally safe care within the pharmacy profession. We’re immensely proud to continue our support of NACCHO, this program, and ultimately more equitable health outcomes.”

Chastina Heck, a proud Nywaigi Mamu Bidjara woman and clinical pharmacist, who served on the selection panel, emphasised the significance of scholarships like these in providing not only financial assistance but also a sense of belonging to university life and the pharmacy profession.

Professor Faye McMillan AM FPS, a proud Wiradjuri Yinaa woman and another member of the selection panel, highlighted the strengthening relationship between NACCHO, Sanofi, and the pharmacy profession through this year’s scholarship program, extending congratulations to all the recipients.

The program, initially launched in 2022 with two students, has expanded to support five recipients annually until 2025, demonstrating Sanofi’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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