Evina Paloumpi is studying for a PhD "Producing a vision for the future of community pharmacy in England". She's supervised by Dr Matthew Jones (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology), Dr Piotr Ozieranski (Department of Social and Policy Sciences) and Professor Margaret Watson (Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology).
Evina's PhD scholarship is generously supported by alumnus and honorary graduate Dr Bharat Shah, who recently invited her to speak at a prestigious pharmaceuticals conference in Malaysian Borneo. She writes about her experience.
The title of this 10th annual Sigma conference was 'Making it happen' – only three words, yet so reflective of the conference’s messages.
I felt very honoured to be invited to attend and to speak to this conference. Dr Bharat Shah and Sigma Pharmaceuticals are well known for their successful conferences and their investment in healthcare. There were lots of of retail pharmacists, doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacy ‘politicians’ and other delegates in attendance, combined with a very relaxed atmosphere. The overall aim was to present innovative ways in which the pharmacy profession could overcome the challenges it faces.
The conference started with positive messages from the UK Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health, which set the scene for the vision of the future through a variety of sessions. Further exploration was provided on the second day where inspirational examples of ways to achieve this vision were presented from experts and pharmacy champions. The third day of the conference was more about how the future can be achieved.
This was the day I was asked to prepare a presentation for my research. It was the first time I presented my workto an audience of about 300 people and it also felt quite nerve-racking being the last speaker on the last day! However, it was definitely an experience to remember. As a PhD student it is very important to be able to present your work confidently and I am very grateful that I had this opportunity to present my project to such a prestigious audience. It was a very welcoming environment for an early stage researcher and I must admit it was a very satisfying feeling having experts expressing interest in my work. I gained knowledge not only from the sessions, but also from the fruitful conversations and the wonderful networking opportunities.
Borneo, the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asi,a was an excellent setting for the conference. Rainforests, crystal clear waters and a bright sky combined with a constant feeling of hospitality and kindness would not leave anyone disappointed. The positive atmosphere from the place was the perfect match with the motivational messages and inspiration of the conference. After all, how can someone not feel optimistic after powerful sessions and a view like this?