​First female pharmacist professor at Otago University

Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand’s Vice President Rhiannon Braund is the first female pharmacist professor at University of Otago.

Braund, who works at the New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre, which is the national centre for monitoring adverse reactions to medicines, in the Department of Preventative and Social Medicine, at the University of Otago has been promoted to the position of professor in the latest announcements from the university.

When asked how it feels to be the first female pharmacist professor at the University of Otago, Braund says “I feel very privileged and honoured, particularly as it is the University of Otago’s 150th birthday.”

“The recognition for my contribution to the profession via research, teaching and service is very special. My goal has always been to do the right thing and advance and enhance pharmacy where I can, so this formal recognition is just the cherry on the cake.”

Thirty University of Otago academics have been promoted to the position of professor this year.

Making the announcement on Tuesday 10 December 2019, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the promotion to Professor recognised the hard work, skill and dedication of a wide range of University of Otago academics.

“The depth and breadth of research expertise, leadership, and commitment to their work demonstrated by these staff is highlighted with their promotion.

"I look forward to following with interest their teaching, research and service achievements in the future,” Professor Hayne says.

Otago’s promotion process involves thorough evaluation of each individual’s record of contributions to research, teaching, and service to the University and community. It also involves input from international experts in evaluating the candidates’ research contributions.

Braund is clearly very passionate about her career in pharmacy, saying “pharmacy has so much to offer patients, because of their specialised knowledge, access, and integration in all sectors of the health team.”

“This specialised skill set is currently under-utilised, and pharmacy could contribute in many ways to take pressure off a currently bursting health system. This needs to change.”

Braund’s research centres on medication, use, safety and effectiveness. This work has a strong equity and access focus and considers patient behaviours regarding adherence and medication wastage. This expertise has been recognised across many clinical areas.

Her research into advanced roles for pharmacists and support staff has resulted in multiple practice changes and new models of care both locally and internationally.

Further, her passion for pharmacy and student success was recognised in 2012 when she was awarded the Prime Minister’s award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Her professional recognitions include Fellowships of both the New Zealand College and the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand. She holds national leadership roles to enhance the use of medications and improve patient access and outcomes through better utilisation of pharmacists.

Braund’s promotion will take effect from 1 February 2020.