At the Queen’s University Belfast School of Pharmacy Undergraduate Awards Ceremony 2020 held 21 October, Sheelin McKeagney, Chair of the Pharmacy Forum NI presented Niamh Martin (pictured) the Pharmacy Forum NI Gold Medal Prize 2020 for highest overall distinction in pharmacy in year group.

The Pharmacy Forum NI prize for Distinction in Advanced Pharmaceutical Care was also presented by Mr McKeagney to Bronach Mallon.

The QUB award scheme recognises MPharm and BSc students’ (Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology) academic achievements. Prizes this year were sponsored by partners from community and primary care pharmacy, trade associations, regulatory and professional bodies, and industry including Pharmacy Forum NI.

Chair of the Forum, Sheelin McKeagney commented:

“One of our key objectives in the Forum is to seek out and reward excellence in the science and practice of pharmacy. Prize giving is a wonderful example of the celebration of all that is good in our profession. Every year, I see young men and women moving through their studies and new graduates moving into their chosen aspects of our profession.”

Wishing every success to new graduates, Mr McKeagney added:

“The profession has been evolving for many decades but never as quickly as it has in the last few years. Pharmacists are in more demand than ever having been sought out at all levels of healthcare with the unique skillset being required at primary care all the way through to government and healthcare planning.”

Pharmacy Forum NI Gold Medal Prize 2020 winner Niamh Martin is currently a pre-registration pharmacist in Belfast City Hospital. Looking to the future, she said:

“I think Northern Ireland is a fantastic place to be in pharmacy due to the expanding range of opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, leading research universities and in clinical pharmacy.”

This year’s award ceremony guest speaker was Orla Smyth, a kidney transplant recipient and winner of 16 gold medals at the World Transplant Games.

Professor Colin McCoy, the new Head of School welcomed the students and their families to the online ceremony and commented:

“Sadly, we are not able to meet face-to-face to celebrate the great achievements of our prize winners, or have all our very generous sponsors with us in person, but nonetheless this is a key part of our year, so to have everyone gathered here virtually is a real privilege.”

View the award ceremony here