Professor Libby Roughead wins the 2017 HSRAANZ Distinguished Investigator – Life Time Achievement Award

The HSRAANZ Distinguished Investigator Awards recognize researchers who have made a significant contribution to the field of health services and health policy research in Australia and New Zealand through scholarship and teaching, advancement of science and methods, and leadership (relative to level of award).

The winner of the 2017 Life-Time Achievement Award is Professor Libby Roughead, Research Professor School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia

Libby has developed a strong research agenda through her leadership of the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC). Appointed Director in 2011, she currently leads a multidisciplinary team of 26 research and support staff and eight PhD students. With more than 200 research papers assessing harms associated with medicine used and over $50m in research funding, Libby has established an exceptional record of research translation into both policy and practice. Her translation successes are due largely to working directly with policy makers and government.

Libby’s impact on policy and practice is extensive. Her research on medication safety has underpinned Australia’s health goals and targets and the current work plan in medication safety for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). Her 2015 report on medication safety in mental health is being used by ACSQHC to develop a work program in this area. Her research quantifying the extent of treatment conflicts in people with multimorbidity led Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd to develop a work plan for inclusion of multimorbidity in Australia’s national guidelines. Her research on interventions for improving use of medicines supported funding of home medicine reviews in Australia and provided the model for the sustained implementation of the Veterans’ Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services (MATES) project, provided by the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Veterans’ MATES program, which was re-funded in 2016, has implemented over 40 interventions, targeted every general practitioner, pharmacy, aged-care facility and veteran in Australia and resulted in measureable improvements in veteran health and net cost savings.

Libby has made a significant contribution to the profession of health services research through her active engagement on national committees, such as Australia’s Drug Utilisation Subcommittee (member since 2001) and her board membership of Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd, a national body providing guidelines for Australian health professionals.

Libby has supervised 7 PhD students to completion, has 4 current PhD students and has hosted extended visits by 8 international researchers during the last five years. Libby has a successful track record in identifying, recruiting, training and mentoring early career post-doctoral fellows who have been identified by her as having capacity for independent research and future leadership roles.

Libby leads The Medicine and Device Surveillance CRE a collaboration multi-national collaboration between UniSA, University of Adelaide, Flinders University, University of Western Australia, Royal Adelaide Hospital and the National Prescribing Service, Harvard Medical School USA, University of Tokyo Japan, Seoul National University Korea, and the National Cheng Kung University Taiwan which has resulted in 47 publications and the development of the Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network (AsPEN).

Unfortunately Libby was unable to attend the HSRAANZ Conference to accept her award but our President Jon Karnon caught up with Libby in Adelaide to discuss her research career and present her award.