Teresa Di Franco’s outstanding work in the field of Pharmacy was celebrated recently when she was awarded WA Young Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (WA branch).
The UWA Masters of Pharmacy graduate was recognised for her contribution to progressing the profession, which includes creating the first all-in-one multidisciplinary clinic for people living with diabetes in WA.
“I’m particularly passionate about diabetes because a number of my family members have been diagnosed with it. After watching their experiences first-hand I wanted to provide a service for other people who are looking for support and to make living with diabetes easier,” she said.
“I had already completed the first step by attaining my Master in Pharmacy and registering as a pharmacist, so I then went on to complete a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education.”
As a Registered Pharmacist and Credentialed Diabetes Educator Teresa and her husband, who is also a pharmacist, opened their own community pharmacy Friendlies East Victoria Park, which incorporates a multidisciplinary diabetes clinic Perth Diabetes Care (PDC).
“PDC is a patient centred clinic providing services for people living with all types of diabetes. Our health professionals include Diabetes Educators, Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists, Counsellors, Psychologists & Podiatrists and of course Pharmacists,” she said.
“We would like it to be normal practice in the primary care field for Pharmacists to be part of multidisciplinary teams like this. I also believe it is really important for people living with diabetes to be able to access a service that provides access to their medical team, and I’m currently looking at how we can bring a GP and endocrinologist into the clinic.”
It’s this type of progressive thinking that earned Teresa the WA Young Pharmacist of the Year award.
“It’s really important that as a profession we use our wealth of knowledge and continue to expand on our role as Pharmacists.”
During her time at UWA, Teresa completed her intensive research project in diabetes care under the supervision of Professor Rhonda Clifford (Director of Pharmacy; Centre for Optimisation of Medicines (COM)). This research will now continue in a collaboration between COM and PDC. The first research project in this collaboration will investigate the use of technology available to optimise diabetes therapy. This will be the first of many collaborative projects.
Perth Diabetes Care will also be used as an interprofessional training site for Master of Pharmacy students as well as an experiential training site.