A pharmacy student at The University of Western Australia has today been named Pharmacy Student of the Year, beating a strong field of finalists from universities around the country.
Kurtis Gray, 23, from Kardinya, who is in his final year of a Master of Pharmacy at UWA, won the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Mylan Pharmacy Student of the Year award.
It’s the second year in a row that a UWA student has taken out the award with Alice Hashiguchi taking national honours last year.
Sponsored by global pharmaceutical company Mylan, the award winner receives the National Travel Prize for pharmacy-specific education of an expenses-paid trip to a pharmacy conference.
Kurtis said the competition required pharmacy students to demonstrate their professional skills in primary care scenarios, recognising three main areas of pharmacy study.
“It assesses their ability to solve a clinical problem and their clinical knowledge, their ability to empathise with a patient and their ability to communicate clearly and coherently to a patient to enable effective health care,” he said.
“There are 17 pharmacy schools across Australia and they each put forward five students for this award, it’s very competitive and it’s the highest achievers.”
Kurtis said while the past two years had been challenging, support from friends and teachers throughout the course had made it an enjoyable experience.
“My primary area of interest is mental health and mental health management so having this award on my CV is really going to help me get my foot in the door,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to implementing some of my ideas within the community to benefit all those people who suffer from mental health issues.”
Professor Jon Watson, Dean of UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, said the faculty was exceptionally proud of Kurtis’ achievement.
“Alice Hashiguchi, the national winner last year, was also from the UWA Master of Pharmacy program and to have two consecutive winners from cohorts of about 40 out of approximately 2800 final year students across Australia is a remarkable result,” Professor Watson said.
Kurtis enrolled in the Master of Pharmacy course after completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in anatomy at UWA.
The Master of Pharmacy program provides a direct pathway to a professional postgraduate qualification in pharmacy for registration as a pharmacist in Australia.