Pharmacist of the Year: Bowl of Hygeia 2019 QLD

What is the Bowl of Hygeia award? In Greek mythology, Asclepius was a god of medicine and, to quote one source, he “healed wounds, ulcers, fevers and pains by means of gentle spells, soothing potions, incisions and external applications”. He had four daughters, two of whom are of interest here. One was called Panacea and she became a goddess who healed every disease. Another daughter was Hygeia, the goddess of health and welfare, or in another reference, the goddess of healing. The modern word hygiene comes from this source. Hygeia is usually depicted with a serpent drinking from a cup held in her hand. This symbol has become the internationally recognised symbol of pharmacy, where the bowl represents medicine and the snake, potency. The Bowl of Hygeia Award was introduced in 1980 to commemorate the Centenary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Queensland. 

I’m very grateful and humble to receive the Bowl of Hygeia Pharmacist of the Year in the annual awards for Queensland by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia on 19th October 2019. Thank you to Debbie Rigby for spending a lot of time doing the nomination as she’s the Australian Pharmacy Queen who has very, very busy schedules! Thank you to Professor  Lisa Nissen and Senior Pharmacy Lecturer Anna Barwick for supporting with the nomination. 

I have been given so much encouragement and support from amazing pharmacist heros of mine (Debbie Rigby, Professor Lisa Nissen, Joyce McSwan, Professor Chris Freeman, Geoffrey Grima, Tony Hall, just to name a few) and colleagues in my pharmacist career. I have been very fortunate to work with many amazing doctors, nurses, other health professionals and patients as I transitioned into diabetes and weight management roles. 

After receiving the award, I have deep reflections of conversations with my patients who bravely and openly share their journey of diabetes. It is such an honour to be allowed to share their joys and tears along the way, often this gets a few glimpses into their lives, not just diabetes. Many patients have given me their encouragement and permission to share their stories with others in a generous spirit, hoping their stories will inspire and encourage others to make the most of their health. I believe that family, friends, work colleagues and health professionals all have a role to play in making life better for my patients in their journey with diabetes, therefore, I have always invited everyone to come to the management sessions if they are available to attend. Thank you for your presence in my professional life. 

Viv Hsu
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