February 10, 2012

Grant to Schools of Pharmacy, Public Health creates graduate research certificate

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation recently announced that the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University will each receive a $250,000 grant to establish a three-year graduate certificate program. This program is formally known as the PhRMA Foundation Center of Excellence for a Comparative Effectiveness Research  Educational Program.

The PhRMA Foundation’s goal is to encourage the creation of  graduate-level curricular programs in U.S. colleges to  hone students’ knowledge and skills in comparative effectiveness research.

Comparative effectiveness research is a growing field that aims to generate evidence to improve health care decisions for patients and providers. It examines the benefits and risks of different medical or healthcare interventions, including drugs and medical technology. The results of these comparison studies are used by medical professionals to make better  informed healthcare decisions and thereby improve patient care.

“While there were several excellent candidates that applied for the grant, this years recipients were chosen because they displayed strong track records conducting comparative effectiveness research and demonstrated a commitment to advancing the field through related activities,” said Jean Paul Gagnon, chair of the PhRMA Foundation comparative effectiveness research advisory committee.

The Pharmacy and Public Health schools at the UW Magnuson Health Sciences Center (above) are creating a graduate certificate program in comparative effectiveness research.

The Pharmacy and Public Health schools at the UW Magnuson Health Sciences Center (above) are creating a graduate certificate program in comparative effectiveness research.

The UW is home to an interdisciplinary comparative effectiveness research program — the UW Centers for Comparative and Health Systems Effectiveness (CHASE) Alliance — composed of several world-renowned research centers and programs from the region. They include centers at the UW Schools of Pharmacy, Public Health, Medicine and Nursing as well as at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s and the Puget Sound Veteran’s Administration.

With this PhRMA Foundation grant, the Schools of Pharmacy and Public Health are implementing an interdisciplinary certificate program for UW graduate students. Faculty members from the participating centers of the CHASE Alliance will contribute. Interested UW graduate students can apply starting in April.

“My colleagues and I are excited to be launching a graduate certificate program in comparative effectiveness research with the support of the PhRMA Foundation,” said Lou Garrison, professor and associate director of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research & Policy Program in the School of Pharmacy. “As we move into this new era of patient-centered, real-world outcomes research with active stakeholder engagement, there is a tremendous need for newly trained researchers to take advantage of these new opportunities and to address critical information needs.”

Garrison is the principal investigator of this new grant. Co-investigators are Anirban Basu, associate professor of health services in the School of Public Health, and Beth Devine, associate professor of pharmaceutical outcomes research and policy.

Moving forward, the UW and Johns Hopkins faculty members who received the PhRMA Foundation grant will collaborate to train high-caliber comparative effectiveness researchers and practitioners.

UW graduate students interested in finding out more about the comparative-effectiveness research certificate can email the School of Pharmacy at rxalumni@uw.edu