I was shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely passing of my friend and colleague Karen Pitchford. Although I first came to know her as a fellow member of both the GPhC Board of Assessors and the Accreditation and Recognition Panel, Karen joined Aston Pharmacy School in May 2017 as a Senior Teaching Fellow in Pharmacy Law and Practice. She quickly became a popular member of the teaching staff with both students and fellow academics. Her friendly approach to all the activities in which she became involved endeared her to all who came into contact with her.
Karen was able to blend the two attributes of extensive knowledge of her subject area with a strong desire to teach and assist others in fulfilling their potential. As many will know, Karen’s expertise was within the areas of pharmacy and medical law and ethics. She had a passion for the subject area and was in the process of completing her LL.M qualification. She used her expert knowledge to help pharmacists of the future during their undergraduate studies, but also as a member of the GPhC Board of Assessors where she helped ensure that pre-registration students were assessed appropriately on the law which was relevant to practice as a newly-qualified pharmacist.
Karen’s passing was unexpected and untimely, and the pharmacy profession will feel the effect of this loss for years to come. There are many current pharmacists who, in part, owe their success to the support Karen provided during their undergraduate days. I have received messages of condolence from across the country which demonstrate how well-respected Karen was in so many circles. Furthermore, I have also been touched by the messages I have received from my student colleagues, who described Karen as a “wonderful lady” and commented that they will miss her “positive attitude, enthusiasm and passion within her teaching”.
On behalf of the staff and students from Aston Pharmacy School, I would like to pass on our condolences to Karen’s family and friends at this difficult time.