The British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) has, for the first time in its 45-year history, appointed a pharmacist to be its president.
Philip Howard will help lead an organisation that has some 700 members around the world and helps spread knowledge about antimicrobial chemotherapy.
He was elected by the BSAC’s council to the role of vice president (president-elect), an appointment ratified at the BSAC’s annual general meeting on 14 March, 2017.
Howard, a consultant antimicrobial pharmacist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, will serve as president-elect in 2017-2018, then as president from 2018 until 2021. He will be responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the BSAC strategy, addressing national and global health priorities related to infection.
In a statement, the BSAC says: “This landmark appointment rightly reflects the central and critical role that pharmacists play in the management of infectious disease, appropriate prescribing of antimicrobials and addressing the crisis posed by antimicrobial resistance.”
Howard says: “It is a true honour to lead a society that is recognised both nationally and internationally for its significant contributions to the field of antimicrobial chemotherapy. I will endeavour to ensure all specialties, including of course pharmacists, are engaged in the society’s agenda and are well-placed to contribute to the global challenges that antimicrobial resistance poses.”
Dilip Nathwani, current President of BSAC, adds: “This is a significant moment in our history that highlights the importance of antimicrobial pharmacists and the multi-disciplinary nature of BSAC. The first pharmacist, Professor Jonathon Cooke was elected to council a short 14 years ago in 2003, with pharmacists quickly becoming central to our operations both on council and through collaboration with the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association infection management group.”
He continues: “It is only fitting that Philip Howard should now lead the Society as it moves from a period of awareness raising about antibiotic resistance to leading implementation of solutions to the problems of over and inappropriate prescribing. I can think of no-one better to lead the charge!”