Tribute: Archibald Michael Cullen (1945–2021)

Archibald Michael — known as ‘Mike’ — Cullen died suddenly on 21 October 2021 in Derby.

Mike was a hospital pharmacy leader in Derby in the 1980s and 1990s. He was the reason that I and many other forward-thinking pharmacists were attracted to work in the sector in Derby at that time.

He was a creative thinker who pushed the boundaries and helped advance hospital pharmacy education and practice. As the district pharmaceutical officer at the Southern Derbyshire Health Authority in Derby, he and his team introduced many new pharmacy services and education initiatives. These included clinical pharmacy services to palliative care; accident and emergency; drug abuse and residential care homes; pharmacy aseptic services, producing a full range of ready-to-administer injectables and development of the role and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians, including dispensing accuracy final checking.   

He had a profound interest in pharmacy education as a means of changing practice and was the catalyst for the introduction of the first postgraduate diploma/MSc in clinical pharmacy delivered in the hospital workplace in conjunction with the then University of Wales school of pharmacy and a PharmD course with the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

In the early 1990s, Mike was appointed as Dean of the school of health and community studies at the University of Derby, and brought together many healthcare disciplines such as nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and chiropody. He also established a department of postgraduate pharmacy to deliver education courses and undertake research. He went on to manage Derby University Enterprises, and left this post in 1996 having paved the way for the first UK doctorate recognising the academic credit of advanced pharmacy practice (DPharm); the first master’s programme delivered solely using multimedia (MSc Social and Administrative Pharmacy); and groundbreaking clinical pharmacy technicians’ courses. Mike was awarded an honorary professorship by the University of Derby in recognition of his outstanding contribution.

Mike was one of the founders of the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association in 1981. He served as president of the Guild of Hospital Pharmacy (1984–1985) and was awarded the Evans Gold Medal for his services to pharmacy. He was also a former vice president of European Association of Hospital Pharmacists. 

Outside of the pharmacy world he was a magistrate and former chair of the Southern Derbyshire Bench Training and Development Committee.

I recently communicated with Henri Manasse, retired chief executive of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and former Dean of the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois, to inform him of Mike’s death. He said: “We have lost a trail blazer and great friend. He was a visionary ahead of his time. It was a great privilege to have known and worked with him.”

I am sure many UK pharmacists, healthcare and university staff have similar sentiments.

My condolences to his wife Celia and all the family.

David Cousins FRPharmS, former principal pharmacist, Derby Hospitals (1983–2002)

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2021, Vol 307, No 7955;307(7955)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.115925

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