Callom Short’s dedication to improving life for others as a care worker while throwing himself into his pharmacy degree has led to an annual prize for outstanding performance.

Callom, who recently graduated with First Class Honours from his MPharm degree at the University of Sunderland, is also celebrating being named this year’s recipient of the Professor Roz Anderson Memorial Award.

The annual prize is given to a student who has shown outstanding performance throughout the MPharm, honouring the memory of Professor Anderson, an inspirational scientist dedicated to improving the treatment of patients with a rare life-threatening genetic disease.

Chosen by his academics for his overall performance, engagement in class and integration of science knowledge into practice, Callom, 22, from Gateshead, said: “I am honoured to receive this prize.”

He added: “I only had the pleasure of one lecture with Roz but am well aware of her legacy and the response she had around the university. It’s great to know her work and legacy are continuing.”

Professor Anderson, who sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2018, was a Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Sunderland. In her 31-year career as a researcher at the University she worked on the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosis of bacterial infections, psoriasis and cancer, but her particular passion was the battle against the rare genetic disorder Cystinosis.

Before her death she organised with her family and University staff an annual prize dedicated in her memory to an outstanding pharmacy student, who would reflect Professor Anderson’s devotion to supporting scientific research designed to improve the lives of others, her strong belief in teamwork and making a difference in society by inspiring future generations.

Callom has certainly been making a difference to others’ lives for the last six years working as a domiciliary care worker across Gateshead in patient care and then last year, beginning work with dementia patients at Wardley Gate Care Centre, during one of the most challenges times for the sector.

“I started work just as Covid-19 hit and it was a massive experience, seeing the impact the disease had on patients and their families was incredibly challenging, I was dealing with lots of difficult situations, but it certainly helped develop my interpersonal skills.

“This experience also helped me develop my confidence in helping others and show compassion.”

These skills, Callom says, will be invaluable when he begins his pre-registration year at Sunderland Royal Hospital, working not just in the dispensary, but also on the GP wards.

“The University has been amazing in helping to grow my knowledge for pharmacy and science but adding in those essential work skills through the care work, has proved the perfect marriage between science and that passion for caring for others.”

He added: “This last year has been a year like no other but thankfully I was so well supported by the university through online learning, all the materials we needed were there for us.

“I’ve never looked back and so glad I chose Sunderland to study.”

Dr Adrian Moore, Head of School: Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences said: “Callom has fully embodied the spirit of Roz’s work, demonstrating a wide appreciation of how fundamental science informs the understanding of how medicines work and are developed for the benefit of patients; it has been a genuine pleasure to be involved in his education.

“Callom has also had an active life outside University life again demonstrating the ethos of all that Roz held so precious – working with patients and making a difference to Society in the most challenging of times. My congratulations go out to Callom as this award is very well deserved in recognition of all that he has done and, I’m sure, will continue to do as his professional career develops.”

Following his pre-registration year, Callom hopes to spend a few years in hospital pharmacy, but also plans to complete the Clinical Pharmacy MSc, designed to align with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) foundation and advanced practice frameworks and the RPS knowledge summary guides.

The course allows practitioners vital core skills and knowledge necessary to prepare for their role as an advanced pharmacist practitioner.