November 11, 2021

Pharmacy wins ‘Best Abstract’ and ‘Best Poster’ Awards at UK Conference

Heather Mackenzie, Antimicrobial Stewardship Lead Pharmacist, won the ‘Best Abstract’ and ‘Best Poster Presentation’ Award at the United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) Virtual Conference last week.

UKCPA is the UK’s largest clinical pharmacy community, bringing together pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from all sectors. It currently has over 2,600 members, 14 educational groups and 26 forums.

“Each year, members are invited to submit abstracts for the annual conference. In 2021, approximately 70 abstracts were submitted, with six selected for presentation. Our pharmacy submission was awarded both ‘Best Abstract’ and ‘Best Poster Presentation,” Heather explained.

The poster titled, ‘Experience of a Hospital Led Community Vaccination Program – Adapting to our changing environment’ described the adaptations required for the 2020 community influenza vaccination program to reduce the risks of COVID-19 transmission, changing the model to the adapted ‘drive-in’ system.

“As it was a pharmacy conference, the focus on the poster was the pharmacy role in that project, but it did acknowledge the work across departments, as multiple services were involved in making this happen,” she added.

“This was the first poster I have ever submitted for a conference. It was submitted with the simple aim of allowing others to learn from our experience, given the format could be used for the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. The idea was to showcase how our service adapted to the COVID-19 environment, as I felt Northern Health is a pioneer in the work we have done,” she explained.

Due to the time difference with the UK, Heather was answering the questions on her presentation at 2 am.

“I was so surprised to hear I had won, it was a big shock. I never expected to win one, let alone both awards,” she said.

In her acceptance speech, Heather said: “I would like to accept this award on behalf of the project team. Achieving what we did would not have been possible without everyone working together. In terms of the poster itself, I would particularly like to thank my colleagues within the Pharmacy Department for the support and advice they gave me.”

Vinod Chelleram, Director Pharmacy, added: “It is a proud moment for myself, to be able to showcase the proactive work of the health service and Pharmacy Department in influenza vaccination. The poster highlights Northern Health’s efforts in not just meeting, but exceeding the community health needs.”

Heather’s poster has also been accepted for the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) Conference in February next year, along with seven other posters from the Pharmacy Department. One of these has been accepted for oral presentation, two for lightning talk and a further five for display.

Heather concluded: “I’m really proud of my colleagues – it says a lot about our department’s commitment to research and service improvement that we can achieve this level of success in the middle of a pandemic!”