Merimbula and Canberra’s Pharmacist of the Year Winners Recognized for Bushfire Efforts

Linda Badewitz-Dodd (left) and Erin Cooper received the Pharmacist of the Year award. Photos: provided.

When the bushfires struck, Merimbula’s award-winning pharmacist Linda Badewitz-Dodd provided emergency aid to the city as her own home was under threat.

She and Erin Cooper, a trainee pharmacist in Canberra, have been announced as winners of the 2021 Viatris Excellence Awards from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

Ms. Badewitz-Dodd won the prestigious Pharmacist of the Year award while Ms. Cooper won the Trainee Pharmacist of the Year award.

PSA described Ms. Badewitz-Dodd as a shining example of a community pharmacist and pharmacy owner excelling in patient care, innovative professional practice, and community service.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she said of her victory.

“There are so many pharmacists who I think could easily have gotten this award, so I’m honored to have gotten it.

During the 2019-2020 bushfires, Ms Badewitz-Dodd provided emergency aid to Merimbula as her own home in Tathra was under threat. She also supported residents of nearby evacuated towns, including Eden and Bermagui, by mobilizing face masks and essential medicines from Canberra.

It was a “strange and scary” time, she said, and she didn’t know if her own home would be affected. She experienced the Tathra bushfires in 2018 and said it was horrible because her memories of that time came back.


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People were worried and firefighters walked into his store, Dodd & Dwyer Merimbula Pharmacy, looking exhausted.

“You were just trying to help as many people as you could,” Ms. Badewitz-Dodd said.

“People had lost their homes, their medicine and could not see their doctor. “

She and her team went out of their way to obtain inhalers for people with smoke inhalation.

“When we were here to tell people that everything would be fine, they felt better because we were like this point of sustained calm,” she said.

Ms. Badewitz-Dodd continued to take care of her community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her pharmacy is one of the few on the far south coast to provide coronavirus vaccines and she said she has carried around 800 so far.

“It has been gratifying to contribute in this way,” she said.

PSA said Ms Cooper has been exemplary as a trainee pharmacist at Capital Chemist Wanniassa and as president of the Australian National Association of Pharmacy Students (NAPSA).


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While grappling with stressors that came from working during bushfires, including almost smothering smoke, to cope with COVID-19 and disruptions to work and study, she developed a NAPSA Intern’s Guide to assist all interns during this critical year of their career.

“It’s pretty exciting to know that what I did, not only in my workplace, but through all of my leadership activities during my internship year, not only improved my role as a pharmacist. , but obviously had an impact on others around me – and it’s really nice to be recognized for that, ”Ms. Cooper said.

“I’m excited to see where our role as a pharmacist expands, especially with the increase in vaccinations we can provide – and professional services and the way they’re building in pharmacy, and I’m excited to see what news things we ‘I may be successful in in these roles in the future.


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