A professor who is passionate about breaking down misconceptions associated with prescribed medication is Charles Darwin University’s new Pharmacy theme leader.
Professor Patrick Ball has just joined CDU from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, where he was Foundation Professor of Rural Pharmacy for almost eight years. He brings a wealth of experience in both academic and professional practice.
Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Professor Ball was a hospital clinical pharmacist for 18 years, mostly specialising in paediatrics at the Children’s Hospital, Birmingham. There he developed his interest in pharmaceutical research, focusing on improving the intravenous feeding of babies. He was also part of an international committee that drew up pan-European guidelines for paediatric intravenous nutrition.
Professor Ball received his PhD from the University of Wales in the UK in 1994. He later held academic positions at the University of Otago and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Following his appointment as Foundation Professor in rural and remote pharmacy at CSU, Professor Ball developed a passion for education and research associated with the treatment of chronic conditions caused by low medicine adherence rates. At that time his research focus shifted to maximising the health benefits from medication.
“Educating people about the importance and benefits of treating chronic conditions is imperative,” Professor Ball said. “By understanding the value of long-term medication, many people can prevent the progression of chronic conditions. For the patient, this both gives them a better quality of life and keeps them out of hospital. For society, it could also save millions of dollars in costs to health services.”
Professor Ball said that while some great work was being done in the Territory, in areas where English was not the first language, including Indigenous communities, more needed to be done. As theme leader of Pharmacy, Professor Ball will be responsible for training the NT’s future pharmacists.
“Being the only university in the NT, we are in a unique position to offer students a unique location and opportunity to learn and practise pharmacy,” he said. “In the future the clinical school at CDU will also offer some significant research opportunities in the areas of regional and remote health.”
Professor Ball’s key research areas include medicine optimisation, retention of health service staff in rural communities, and Indigenous health in remote communities.