With its pharmacy program ranked among the best, the Monash Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences owes a historical debt of gratitude for that position to one of its 1950s graduates, John Ware OAM.
It was Ware who helped guide the amalgamation of the legendary Victorian College of Pharmacy – and its suite of lucrative patents – into Monash University in 1992 while he was chairman of the College Council.
And it was Ware who was a driving force in recasting the way pharmacy is taught. As pre-formulated drugs started flooding the market in the 1970s, he foresaw the need to shift pharmacy’s roots from technical expertise to a knowledge base steeped in an ethos of continuous innovation. It’s a maxim that continues at the faculty to this day.
Pharmacy practised well has an essential role in the delivery of healthcare.
Ware and his wife, Nariel, are now retired (and producing the award-winning Manse Hill olive oil), but they’re not quite done influencing the way pharmacy is taught and practised.
Together, they donated $1 million in 2018 in the form of the John and Nariel Ware Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Education and Leadership. It supports research into pharmacy education in perpetuity and is the largest endowment in the field of pharmacy education in Australia.
However, rather than bequeath a donation, former faculty head Professor Bill Charman encouraged the couple to structure the gift in a way that allows them to retain a connection with the faculty and have the satisfaction of seeing the fellowship advance excellence in pharmacy teaching practices.
“What we wanted to do was boost the ability of this faculty to stay on top of the discipline’s evolving needs,” Ware says. “The way the fellowship is set up means we can see that happen.”
A pharmacist's ethos
Of particular interest to Ware is an education system that produces pharmacists capable of making complex medical knowledge accessible to the communities they serve. In his view, this requires being a good communicator and includes the ability to earn the trust of people from all walks of life.
It’s a skill set and ethos the Wares have in abundance, and was on display for many years when they led efforts by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) to promote excellence in pharmacy practice, education and research across the Asia-Pacific region.
It’s also an ethos that delves right back into the reason Ware originally chose a career in pharmacy: “It began with an interest in people’s wellbeing and a desire to help them,” he says with good-natured humility.
That’s the one thing the Wares are certain of: pharmacy practised well has an essential role in the delivery of healthcare. By promoting excellence in the way pharmacists are trained, the John and Nariel Ware Fellowship is a gift that will ultimately work its way from the classroom into communities to the benefit of people of all backgrounds and stages of life.