NSW Pharmacists of the Year celebrated in Port Stephens

4 March 2023

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is proud to announce the exceptional pharmacists recognised in tonight’s New South Wales Excellence Awards as part of the Annual Therapeutic Update taking place in Port Stephens.


The awards were presented by PSA immediate past President, Professor Peter Carroll MPS.


The NSW Pharmacist of the Year Award was presented to former PSA State Manager Simone Diamandis FPS, for her leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and advocacy for the expansion of pharmacist administered vaccines.


As the NSW PSA State Manager, Ms Diamandis worked closely with pharmacists, Government, the health department and other key stakeholders to drive policy change and improvements for pharmacists to better support their communities. Her work has resulted in better health outcomes for residents of NSW.


Her advocacy and leadership had a direct impact on the expansion of pharmacist-administered vaccinations and state-wide funding for the influenza vaccine program in 2022. She has also been a strong advocate for regulatory change and improved access to medicines for NSW residents through the many extensions of the temporary emergency authority.


Simone successfully secured funding for many projects, including playing an integral role in attaining the critical North Coast PHN trial of pharmacists treating minor ailments. She also worked collaboratively with key stakeholders on many other projects including pharmacist administration of depot buprenorphine, piloting pharmacists screening for Hepatitis C, palliative care education for pharmacists and their staff, establishing mental health friendly pharmacists and supporting pharmacists with the rollout of RTPM.


The NSW Intern of the Year Award is Elizabeth Langdon, an intern pharmacist practising on the South Coast. She has been recognised for her work in implementing harm minimisation strategies in three pharmacies.


Ms Langdon drove the rollout of the Opioid Harm Minimisation Strategy and SafeScriptNSW in Priceline Pharmacy Shell Harbour, Amcal North Nowra, and Callala Bay Pharmacy. For the Take-Home Naloxone program she played a pivotal role educating patients on its benefits and teaching patients how to use the drug correctly.


Working across both high-volume and smaller consulting dispensing-based pharmacies, Elizabeth has always engaged positively with colleagues and prescribers, and is truly skilled in translating medical jargon into plain English for her patients.


Langdon has presented to a community walking group, educating them on the quality use of complementary medicines in osteoporosis and diabetes. The group found the information interesting and relevant and have since asked her to present and discuss other medical topics to further their health literacy.


The NSW Early Career Pharmacist of the Year was awarded to Dr Jack Collins MPS for his research at the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy, focussed on the role of community pharmacists in facilitating self-care.


Dr Jack Collins’ research has employed a number of research methods in his work to optimise the medicines management role of pharmacists, focusing on non-prescription medicines, and mental health services. He has drawn on his clinical experience as a community pharmacist, coupled with his excellent research skills, to use novel approaches, such as the use of simulated patient methods, intervention evaluation, and mixed methods designs, to optimise the medicines management role of pharmacists.


Dr Collins has authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as two book chapters and an editorial for the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation. He has also represented Australian pharmacists in the media, having written for publication The Conversation.


Collins teaches across all years of the Bachelor of Pharmacy course at the University of Sydney and has developed and co-ordinated pharmacotherapy content for the University’s Dental degree, one of few in Australia.


Collins is currently the Chief Investigator on a funded research project that has brought together people with lived experience, mental healthcare professionals, and academics to create and pilot new psychosis-related educational materials in medicines, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry. This work will create a further understanding of how involvement of people with lived experience of mental illness in research and education can impact their recovery journey.


The NSW Lifetime Achievement Award recognised the contributions of Warwick Plunkett FPS over nearly 55 years, especially to Pharmacy professional bodies, the continuing professional education of pharmacists, and improvement to the quality use of medicines.


Warwick Plunkett has made an enormous contribution to pharmacists and the pharmacy profession. Throughout his career, Warwick has served as National President of PSA, NSW Branch President of PSA, President of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice, President of the University of Sydney Pharmacy Practice Foundation, and President of the Board of Trustees of the Pharmacy Research Trust of NSW.


Warwick’s contributions to pharmacy practice and the quality use of medicines have also been numerous, including establishing the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) program, which has greatly reduced the potential harm of having no longer needed, and out of date medicines in the home.


Plunkett was also heavily involved in the development and introduction of the PSA Self Care program which greatly assists pharmacists in counselling patients on the appropriate use of their medicines. Warwick has also played a pivotal role in the ongoing professional continuing education of pharmacists with the highlight being his leadership as the Chairman of the PSA Offshore Conference. He is also Chairman of the PSA Annual Education Conference and was responsible for introducing the annual PSA Excellence Awards and the annual UTS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year Awards.


PSA NSW Immediate Past President Professor Peter Carroll congratulated the winners on their awards, recognising their contributions to a rich and diverse profession.


“All of the pharmacists recognised in the NSW Excellence Awards have made significant and lasting contributions to their communities and the pharmacy profession,” Professor Carroll said.


“Excellence in pharmacy means excellence in patient care.


“I am incredibly proud to see the initiative and dedication of our award winners and congratulate each of them on their awards.


“As pharmacists and frontline health professionals, the pharmacists honoured in these awards are improving healthcare for all in New South Wales.”



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is the only national peak body that represents all of Australia’s pharmacists across all practice settings. We want every Australian to have access to the best healthcare, and this must include optimising access to pharmacists’ knowledge and medicines expertise at the forefront of our healthcare system.