Ms Mary Hemming trained as both a pharmacist and an epidemiologist. She commenced her professional life as a hospital pharmacist working in major teaching hospitals. The focus of her career has been to optimise the use of medicines.
In the late 1970s she was part of the Melbourne group that was responsible for the concept of therapeutic guidelines. Playing a key role in the enterprise, Ms Hemming was instrumental in leading and transforming it from a government-funded venture into an independent self-funding not-for-profit organisation, Therapeutic Guidelines Limited (TGL).
TGL was formally established in 1996 and Mary was appointed as its founding Chief Executive Officer. She remained in that role until her retirement in January 2012.
Under her leadership, TGL evolved into a vibrant organisation with defining features that reflect Ms Hemming’s ethos: cross-discipline partnerships at all levels, a culture of excellence, total intellectual independence and intelligent use of technology and resources.
Ms Hemming was able to win the support of Australia’s most respected clinicians and involve them in the writing of Therapeutic Guidelines to make sure they provided reliable and expert interpretation of the available evidence on the best use of medicines. She guided the editorial process to make sure the final texts were clear, succinct and contextualised for everyday use.
TGL has an enviable reputation, and Therapeutic Guidelines are firmly entrenched as part of the culture of the Australian health system – they are valued and used by health professionals at all levels, from undergraduates to opinion leaders, in hospitals and community practice. Therapeutic Guidelines are also well known and used internationally.
Ms Hemming worked with the World Health Organisation to provide health workers in developing countries free access to the guidelines and she also instituted an editorial training program to help build capacity among health professionals from those countries.
Ms Hemming has been a member of various significant committees, including the Commonwealth’s PHARM Committee that was charged with developing the original National Medicines Policy. She was the Federal President of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia and she continues to play an active role in the International Society of Drug Bulletins.
Ms Hemming has received many professional awards including the Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (Honoris Causa), the Best eBook Publisher international award from Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers and the Glaxo Medal of Merit and the Fred J Boyd Award from The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia.