Firouzeh (Fi) Farihi Zadeh, from Alive Pharmacy Warehouse Westcourt in North Queensland, was announced as the 2021 MIMS/Guild Intern of the Year during the 2022 Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference & Trade Exhibition (APP2022) Opening Plenary.
In a year with record number of entries, Fi’s submission and interview clearly demonstrated her passion and interest in health education for Cairns community members with a focus on addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Fi has worked with many community members to ensure they understand the benefits of being vaccinated and protecting themselves against COVID-19. Fi will receive a $4,500 cash bursary courtesy of MIMS Australia to continue to pursue her interest in consumer health education.
Award recipient Fi Farihi Zadeh said, “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of the Far North Queensland COVID-19 School Vaccination Program. As a team we went to 13 schools and administered over 1,335 COVID-19 vaccines to students 12 years and older.
“In addition to this, I also visited homeless shelters and provided vaccination services to residents, as well as providing education to them about the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Executive Director, Suzanne Greenwood said the award recognises dedicated and innovative intern pharmacists and their work in the community.
“I congratulate Fi as the 2021 MIMS/Guild Intern of the Year. The role of a community pharmacist goes well beyond dispensing and Fi’s work and achievements demonstrate that,” said Ms Greenwood.
“Community pharmacies are easily accessible primary health care destinations. Because of that community pharmacists play an integral role in health education for their patients and are a trusted source of information.”
“It is encouraging to see Fi at the early stages of her career being proactive about health education for her local community – especially on the challenging topic of vaccine hesitancy.”
Mr Robert Best, CEO and Executive Director of MIMS Australia and New Zealand, congratulated
Fi and said MIMS Australia was pleased to continue to sponsor an award that supported the future of Pharmacy.
“Fi’s passion around providing public education to tackle vaccine hesitancy in the community, especially among the Indigenous community was very impressive – especially to actively participate in the first ever Far North Queensland COVID–19 high school vaccination program and her participation for vaccination within the Cairns homeless hub. For nearly 60 years, MIMS has been committed to supporting young healthcare professionals like Fi across Australia from all parts of the healthcare ecosystem,” Mr Best said.
“Fi’s passion to help her community was evident – when asked what she would do with the prize money, she answered she would like to firstly educate herself on alcohol other drugs services and programs to then empower the Indigenous community of Cairns and surrounds to better assist them in accessing health care in this area, so, it is therefore with pleasure that we continue to support the MIMS/Guild Intern of the Year Award, as Interns such as Fi are the future of Pharmacy!”
Fi also took part in the inaugural North Queensland COVID-19 School Vaccination Program. Similar to other school-based vaccine programs, this program empowered community pharmacists to deliver COVID-19 vaccination services to students aged 12 and above in the familiar environment of their own school.