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Richard Day

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology; University of New South Wales, Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital
Fellow of DIA
Associate Editor TIRS
Regional Editor Global Forum

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When did you realize you wanted to be a pharmacologist?

When I realized that the key to understanding variations in responses of my patients to their medications was understanding the dose response relationship. There’s more to this relationship than meets the eye! I have used (and loved) this relationship ever since.

In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge in your field?

Personalising important therapies by using all the increasingly available and relevant information about my individual patients in an effective, efficient, and powerful way. And bringing to bear on the decisions regarding therapy for my patient, the power of the experiences of ‘similar’ ‘real world’ patients through the use of ‘Big Data’ approaches.

What in your opinion is the biggest gap between research and practice in your field?

Implementation of all we know about achieving optimal results for an individual patient, and especially, bringing our patients ‘along’ with us so we reach a mutual understanding of what will be best for each individual. Helping our patients understand their illness and treatment options and then helping them to decide what’s best for them and commit to the plan is a frontier that needs much more attention from us all.

Where do you see your field going? What is your vision of the field in 2030?

Increasing personalization of therapy using the vast array of individual data available at the point of care.

What do you like most and least about your job?

Non-evidence based bureaucratic interventions and accretions impinging on ever more of our available time and energy.

What book are you currently reading and why?

The Shepherd’s Hut by Australian author Tim Winton, author of Cloudstreet, The Riders, and Breath. Great story teller of ‘universal tales.’

What have you become better at saying “no” to? What approaches or realizations helped you?

Reviewing too many research papers…..there are plenty of other ‘fish in the sea.’

Imagine a day without work, the internet, and any other obligations. What would you do?

Ride my bike early, coffee with mates, surf with Barb my wife, brunch, read, then nap, and then early dinner at our place, preferably a BBQ, with immediate family (three children plus partners and their eight children and ‘one on the way’), followed by eight hours sleep.

How has DIA helped you?

I learnt so much about medicines development, working with global stakeholders and leaders, seeing the power of the free exchange of ideas, and experiencing the pleasure and effectiveness of working with enthusiastic and committed volunteers.

What would you like to see DIA do for you in the future?

Continue as the leading forum for exchange of ideas and initiatives to improve human health globally while dealing with and contributing to solutions for our greatest global threat of climate change.

Professor Richard Day, AM (MBBS, FRACP, MD), is internationally recognized for his research, leadership, and advocacy in support of quality use of medicines. He has been deeply involved in Australia’s National Medicines Policy, culminating in his Chairmanship of the Pharmaceutical Health and Rational Use of Medicines Committee for the Federal Government (1999-2008), and is an active contributor to national resources such as the Australian Medicines Handbook and Therapeutic Guidelines. Day has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers and been cited more than 21,000 times. He was the first non-US President of DIA, and his many awards include Member of the Order of Australia AM (2000) and the AMA Distinguished Service Award (2009).

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