Dr Karen Whitfield

Honorary Associate Professor

School of Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences


Associate Professor

Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence Email: karen.whitfield@uq.edu.au

Dr Karen Whitfield is an Associate Professor within the School of Pharmacy and is the Program Lead for the Master of Clinical Pharmacy.https://future-students.uq.edu.au/study/programs/master-clinical-pharmacy-5718

Karen was awarded the Research Excellence Award for Research Support - Metro North Health Service in 2020 and the Australian Clinical Pharmacist awarded by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia in 2017

Karen has worked at a number of different hospital including Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General Infirmary, North Staffordshire Hospital Trust (Surgical and Paediatric Directorate Pharmacist), The Townsville Hospital. Most recently she has worked at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (from 2015-2021) holding several positions including, Team Leader Women's and Newborns and Assistant Director Cancer Care Services. She has also held a number of teaching positions including, Sr Lecturer James Cooke University, Teacher Practitioner with Medicines Services Queensland and lecturer with the University of Queensland.

Her specialist interests include Women's Health and Neonatology

She completed a Diploma in Hospital Pharmacy (1991), Masters in Clinical Pharmacy (1996) and completed her PhD at Aston University in 2002 under the supervision of Dr John Marriott and Dr Keith Wilson at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital UK, investigating sedatives in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Karen has presented work Nationally and Internationally at several Seminars and Conferences including, Life Long Learning for Pharmacists Conference (Dublin 2020, Croatia 2016), FIP webinar series ‘Hearing from our Hero’s’ (2020), Monash Pharmacy Education Symposium (2019), MM2018 SHPA Conference Brisbane (2018), Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Conference UK (2015), Society of Obstetric Medicine Australia and New Zealand (Melbourne 2015).

Research Interests

  • Medication optimisation in neonates
  • Medication use in pregnancy and breast feeding
  • Research into the impact of resilience training and development

Research Impacts

Research Interests

  • The impact of a specialist pharmacist in Women’s and Newborns Health including the ambulatory care setting.
  • Altered pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic handling of medications in premature and term neonates
  • Essential micronutrient levels in blood and human milk, including trace elements and vitamins
  • Altered pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic handling of medications in pregnancy
  • The impact of Resilience training and development in students and health care professionals

Karen invites potential majors and postgraduate students to contact her via email to discuss research opportunities.

Projects currently available for PhD/MPhil research higher degree students include:

Women’s Health and Neonates

  • Investigating essential trace elements in neonates including Zinc, Selenium, Chromium, Manganese and Cobalt
  • Investigating neonatal medicines information needs for parents and carers post discharge.
  • Medication taking behaviour during pregnancy and breast feeding (prescription and non-prescription medications).
  • Drugs levels in breast milk - this will involve investigating specific medications and analysis of levels in breast milk and any clinical implications for the infant.
  • Medication optimisation in the obese patient.

Workforce and Professional Development

  • The development and evaluation of resilience and wellbeing interventions in undergraduate students and postgraduate pharmacists.


  • Postgraduate Diploma, James Cook University
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Aston University
  • Bachelor of Science, Council for National Academic Awards
  • Masters (Coursework), Keele University


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Whitfield, Karen and Clavarino, Alexandra (2022). Women’s health from a pharmacy perspective. Encyclopedia of evidence in pharmaceutical public health and health services research in pharmacy. (pp. 1-21) edited by Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar . Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-50247-8_19-1

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision