PSA announces 2020 Excellence Award Winners

Friday 25 September 2020


Three outstanding pharmacists have been recognised for their high standards, professionalism and commitment to pharmacy in the 2020 PSA Symbion Excellence Awards.


The Pharmacist of the Year, Early Career Pharmacist (ECP) of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award were announced online today as part of World Pharmacists Day celebrations.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said he was delighted to congratulate this year’s award winners who were all worthy recipients, following strong nominations across all three categories.


“2020 has been an extraordinary year, one where pharmacists have gone above and beyond to serve the community,” he said.


“These three pharmacists have all exemplified a contribution to the profession and maintained the highest standards of commitment and professionalism.”


The 2020 PSA Excellence Awards winners are:


  • Pharmacist of the Year – Kay Dunkley, VIC
  • Early Career Pharmacist of the Year – Samuel Keitaanpaa, NT
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Debbie Rigby, QLD


Ms Dunkley said she was accepting the award on behalf of all the frontline pharmacists who have worked tirelessly through the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.


“This year the pharmacists who should be receiving this award are those on the frontline, they are all pharmacists of the year in 2020,” she said.


“During the bushfires there were pharmacists who slept in their cars next to the pharmacy and others who organised delivery of medicines via Jet Ski or boat when there was no road access and there were those pharmacists who attended evacuation centres to organise medication.


“Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and pharmacists and pharmacy staff once more found themselves on the frontline dealing with community members who were anxious, frustrated and fearful, having to completely change the way they work to ensure public safety and remain open when other members of the community went into isolation.


“These are the heroes of pharmacy who are all deserving of this award and I am accepting it on their behalf.”


Mr Keitaanpaa said he is very grateful for being awarded ECP of the year for 2020 and being the first from Norther Territory to receive the award.


“The Northern Territory has provided me so many opportunities to help improve patients’ lives and strengthen other health services and professionals around the safe use of medicines,” he said.


“I am thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way, either directly supporting me or just giving me the time to discuss how pharmacy can help.


“There are so many hard working pharmacists up here so I am proud to be able to represent them through this award.”


Lifetime Achievement Award winner Debbie Rigby said she is absolutely thrilled to receive the award.


“Being the first female to be recognised for the PSA Lifetime Achievement Award makes it very special to me,” she said.


“I have been very fortunate throughout my career to be surrounded by generous pharmacists who have inspired, mentored and supported me to make the most of opportunities and innovations.”


The award winners each receive a Symbion Education Grant valued at $9,000. The grants are possible thanks to Symbion’s long-standing support of the awards.


Symbion CEO Brett Barons said the PSA Excellence Awards provide much deserved recognition of those pharmacists who have made a substantial contribution to the profession.


“On behalf of everyone at Symbion, we extend our congratulations to this year’s winners and thank them for their dedication and for inspiring all sectors of the profession.  The roles these pharmacists have played in providing care to their communities is quite extraordinary.” he said.


“We have been a proud sponsor of these awards for the past 16 years but this year’s awards mean just that little bit more with all that we have experienced in 2020.  We look forward to being able to meet the winners in person and are delighted to be supporting their ongoing education and efforts to provide an exceptional level of care to the community.”


Nominations are now open for the PSA State and Territory Awards. Nominations will be taken for Pharmacist of the Year, Early Career Pharmacist of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award and Intern Pharmacist of the year for all states and territories (excluding Tasmania who take part in the combined Tasmanian Pharmacists Awards).






Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176