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Grant establishes new division in College of Pharmacy at UA

By Jeff Jensen
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 25, 2000
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The UA College of Pharmacy's top research program has been awarded a $600,000 grant from a pharmaceutical foundation which will allow for the establishment of a new division.

The new Division of Pharmaceutical Policy will focus on health plans and their interaction with patients within the Center for Health and Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research, said Brenda Motheral, the program director.

The center's grant proposal was selected from more than sixty other proposals in the international competition sponsored by the Merck Company Foundation.

Three other schools in the United States were also awarded the grant, as well as universities in Spain, Italy and Canada.

Motheral said she believes that the University of Arizona was selected largely due to the specific and unique nature of the research being conducted.

"We have access to a lot of health plans and data," she added.

This grant - which will be doled out over a three-year period - provides funding for research, training, education and outreach in the "rapidly-evolving" field of pharmaceutical policy, according to a College of Pharmacy press release.

This new division will enhance the center's ability to instruct graduate students in pharmaceutical economics, policy, and outcomes research. It will also benefit Arizona State University graduate students and faculty studying pharmaceutical policy at the UA.

This grant will expand the division through improved conferences, presentations, symposiums and outreach activities.

"The Merck Company Foundation has allowed us to accelerate our efforts to reach students and pharmacy professionals with vital information on the management of pharmaceutical products and services," said College of Pharmacy Dean Lyle Bootman, founder and executive director of the center, in a Jan. 14 press release.

Although the program was in the works prior to the grant, the award hastened the process of establishing this division.

"Everybody was interested once they were aware of the program," said Motheral.

Faculty members joining this division include Dr. James Dalen, vice president for health sciences; anthropology professor Mark Nichter; and William Johnson, professor in the School of Health Administration and Policy at Arizona State University.

The new division will enhance the already-established Pharmacy Center of Excellence, which was established in 1986 to work with researchers, academic institutions, health care organizations, and pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

The grant will allow for several research focuses, including cost-effectiveness analysis, pharmaceutical policy analysis, quality-of-life assessment for patients and drug-use evaluation.

The center is working towards becoming a premier source of information, training and collaborative research in assessing the effectiveness of health care interventions, according to the dean's office.

Additionally, the members of this division will work to inform lawmakers about existing research that is available while they are working on pharmaceutical related legislation.

As for the future of this division, Motheral is working on "getting more faculty involved and bringing more grants in."

The Merck Company Foundation, a private U.S.-based company founded in 1957, strives to support biomedical science training and education and to improve health care worldwide, according to the company's mission statement.

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