The J M O’Hara Research Fund was established in 1976 and has been managed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Western Australia (PSWA) since its inception in accordance with the J M O’Hara Research Fund Deed. It is named in honour of John Michael O’Hara, a past President and long-serving member of the Society’s Council and one of Australia’s most prominent pharmacists.
The Fund provides financial grants for Western Australian based research in pharmaceutical sciences or in any aspect of pharmacy practice to PSWA members and to encourage and promote studies designed to improve the practice of pharmacy. In addition, all members of the profession gain from the outcomes of research which is aimed at expanding knowledge in any branch of pharmaceutical science or in any aspect of the practice of pharmacy.
Several key projects recently funded by the JM O’Hara Research Fund include:
Determination of the prevalence and factors influencing the provision of enhanced and extended professional services by pharmacists in Western Australia
As part of a J M O’Hara Research Grant, Petra Czarniak from Curtin University is researching the level of non-prescription related professional services provided in community pharmacies in Western Australia. The findings of this research will quantify the level and provide insights into the spread of enhanced and extended services provided in WA. Many of the services are currently unremunerated or poorly remunerated but make an important contribution to community health and save money for the government and the community. However, free provision of these professional services may no longer be able to be absorbed by community pharmacies. The results of this research will enable strategies to be developed to improve remuneration for these services and where appropriate develop strategies to increase uptake of these services
Enhancing primary care processes in community pharmacy – Liza Seubert from the University of Western Australia was the recipient of the 2015 J M O’Hara research grant for a project on Enhancing primary care processes in community pharmacy. The research looks at the interaction between customers and staff in the community pharmacy environment, in particular the recognition levels of consumers and their willingness to seek out and recognise the pharmacist as the key communicator in the pharmacy. The interim results already identified factors that can strongly influence customer behaviour including such simple strategies as wearing a specifically designed badge. With a renewed focus on developing new professional services through community pharmacy the interim research outcomes provided a tangible focus on positively changing customer behaviour and enhancing consumer trust within the community pharmacies environment.
Medications for mental health – Deena Ashoorian researched the new paradigms for the partnership management of medications for mental health consumers in the community. This important research, which involved the development, validation and trial of a novel side effect tool for psychotropic medications, will be of benefit to clinicians, pharmacists and mental health consumers. This research has already been recognised, having been accepted as papers at 9 conferences (local and international) in the last three years. As a result of these conferences and peer reviewed journal publications, the My Medicines and Me Questionnaire (M3Q) is currently being used in a range of clinical settings worldwide, including translated versions. In addition, the Health Department of WA has recognised its value in bridging the communication gap and have agreed to co-badge and distribute the M3Q in mental health clinics in the near future
Deprescribing of medications – Amy Page researched the concordance of de-prescribing recommendations made by pharmacists and medical practitioners for frail older people living in residential care. The conclusion of the study was that doctors and pharmacists had substantial agreement on the number of medications to deprescribe. This suggests that the identification of target medications for deprescribing is a new role for pharmacists. Specialised and ongoing training will be required for this new role for pharmacists.
Fentanyl patches used by Aboriginal patients – Professor Bruce Sunderland investigated inefficacious release of fentanyl patches used by Aboriginal patients in the remote Kimberley