Colleagues of the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) have paid homage to Dr Erica Sainsbury, a long serving educator at the Sydney Pharmacy School, following her passing in December 2021.

The very best of words cannot truly capture the sense of loss that many people are feeling. The large response from her colleagues, students, pharmacists and academics is testament to the immeasurable impact Erica has had on so many people.

Through her work in pharmacy education as a lecturer, consultant, advisor and mentor, Erica transformed pharmacy education and the student experience. She implemented an outstanding intern program, and contributed to APC's outcome-based accreditation standards. Each and every person who crossed paths with her learned from her. They enjoyed her banter, her quick wit, her questioning and her extraordinary intelligence in work and life.

We send our deepest condolences to Erica’s family - especially her brother Michael, sister-in-law Anna and niece Nikki - as well as many dear friends from across the pharmacy community, cricket community and Erica's church community.

Leading pharmacy education

Erica played an integral role at APC as an expert educational consultant. She contributed whole-heartedly to every initiative she worked on, be it our accreditation standards, intern assessment tools, exam question writing, or improving Indigenous health.


Erica was central to our work in embedding cultural safety in pharmacy education. She conducted key reviews of the available literature, interpreted the available evidence then provided the commentary and framework that we will use going forward.

Erica approached APC CEO Bronwyn Clark about working with APC after retiring.

"I couldn’t think of someone who I would want more in my team. She never said 'no' to anything, and she always articulately expressed her opinion, usually persuading you to her way of thinking. That is indeed an art. 

"Erica loved being part of our APC 'pharmily'. She has been a regular at our team catchups and social events, and I know she looked forward to them all, especially since the pandemic. We have lost a true colleague and friend and send our deepest condolences to her family," Ms Clark said.


Teaching to inspire and engage

Erica's innovative teaching always left pharmacy students and academic staff feeling engaged and challenged. She inspired all those around her, instilling confidence in their learning and teaching practices.

Friend and colleague, Professor Andrew McLachlan AM, Dean of Pharmacy at the Sydney Pharmacy School, said Erica is remembered by generations of pharmacists and pharmacy students as an outstanding and passionate teacher who always put her students first and continued to innovate as an educator to ensure students could achieve their best.

Messages from her colleagues

Many of Erica's APC colleagues have shared their memories and messages of condolence.

"Erica was loved by all of us at APC and her loss will be immeasurable. Her professional and personal contribution to the Accreditation Committee over many years was invaluable. It was her fierce intelligence and cheeky sense of humour that endeared her to us." - Glenys Wilkinson, APC Executive Director Professional Services

"I have tried to think of words to describe Erica and in the end I landed on just one - courageous. To quote something religious, in her thoughts, words and deeds she was courageous. Most of us have to think about acting in a courageous manner, it came naturally to Erica. I am not alone I am sure but I will miss her greatly. I am a lucky man to have had the opportunity to have known such a person." - Peter Halstead, APC Senior Pharmacist


"Erica was such a terrific person – someone who contributed so much to so many. She was a pharmacy intellect par excellence and one of a kind. We will miss her kindness, her enthusiasm, her wit and her social conscience. We have only shining memories of a great and lovely person." - Professor Nick Shaw, Associate Dean (Academic) University of Queensland, APC Accreditation Committee Chair

"Erica brought the same level of care, passion and commitment to every aspect of her life be it her family, academia, sporting accomplishments, media responsibilities, cricket scoring, professional organizational roles and her faith. She will be deeply missed but leaves a lasting legacy across each of these areas." Professor Tim Chen, University of Sydney Pharmacy School, APC Accreditation Committee member.

"My fondest memory was a wild Melbourne storm when we were sure we were going to blown away as we left Pharmacy House. We hung on to each other and our papers and prayed for a tram. Her humour about being the strong lifeline in that storm was how I always remember Erica. She gave so much and we will miss her sage advice." - Karalyn Huxhagen , Consultant Pharmacist, APC Accreditation Committee member

Erica's memorial will held at West Pymble Anglican Church, Friday 21 January at 10.30am.  You can access the live stream to join online. 

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