Health care delivery faces the multiple challenges of limited resources, increasing expenditures, increasing expectations, greater complexity, costly new technology, and limited health care access. The need for professionally trained translational pharmaceutical research scientists in analyzing medication outcomes and policy planning has never been greater, as pharmaceutical policy issues become larger and more complex.
Our society is accustomed to extensive drug use. In 2001, US physicians prescribed nearly 3 billion prescriptions costing in excess of $150 billion. In 2005, global drug expenditures surpassed $600 billion. But the cost is not just in dollars. In 1997, researchers projected that up to 140,000 deaths are caused annually in the U.S. by adverse events due to legally prescribed medications. Published estimates for the rate of hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions range from 3-28%, and as many as 30% of all hospitalized patients experience an adverse drug event during their hospital stay. Nearly half of these adverse drug events are potentially preventable; thus, there is an urgent national imperative for rational and improved medication use.
The POP program's training will focus on the relationship between pharmacotherapy and health outcomes, pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, informatics, and pharmaceutical policy. The program will prepare students for careers in the pharmaceutical industry, governmental positions related to pharmaceuticals, and academic positions focused on research related to pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. The program core is composed of courses in economics, epidemiology, policy, and econometrics.
Prospective graduate students come from a national pool of applicants with backgrounds in pharmacy as well as other fields such as anthropology, biology, business administration, dentistry, economics, epidemiology, gerontology, health administration, medicine, nursing, public health, political science, psychology, public administration, public policy, social work, sociology and other majors. Most entry level students have a professional degree in pharmacy or a related graduate degree with a background or interest in pharmaceutical research.
Research and teaching assistantships and fellowships are available and are awarded on a competitive basis. Assistantship funding includes a competitive stipend and benefits package consisting of tuition and graduate student health insurance.