College of Pharmacy Marks a Stellar Year

College of Pharmacy Marks a Stellar Year

By College of Pharmacy
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UA College of Pharmacy
UA College of Pharmacy

While recently compiling an internal annual report, UA College of Pharmacy employees realized they deserved a pat on the back. A reprise of 2012 shows it was a busy year full of accomplishments for the college and its departments and centers.

In the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, about 30 percent of full-time faculty members had at least one "fellow" designation by national or international professional organizations. Moreover, roughly 90 percent of clinical faculty members had at least one board certification.

Community outreach by the department resulted in the college being selected as one of three finalists for the 2013 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy's Lawrence C. Weaver Transformational Service Award, which recognizes a college or school of pharmacy demonstrating a major institutional commitment to addressing unmet community needs.

In addition to recognition, department faculty secured $3.6 million in external funding in 2012.

Faculty of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology organized and hosted the 33rd National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium.

The department's faculty and graduate students received multiple awards at the annual Society of Toxicology meeting.

And during the year, department faculty secured $7.2 million in research and training grants.

Members of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix formed the Center for Toxicology and Pharmacology Education and Research (CTPER), located at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix. The center was created to improve collaboration and funding potential.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is the central source of medical toxicology services on the UA campus. The medical toxicologists set up office space in the center in 2012, which improves the capacity for consultation services, teaching and research.

And directors of the center successfully secured funds to pay off a debt and provide additional funding through fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.

Under the leadership of a new director, Ivo Abraham, the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research extended its focus to encompass health outcomes research, performance and safety effectiveness of treatments and models of care.

"We want to broaden our interdisciplinary collaboration base to encompass the entire health sciences and other University of Arizona groups, both in Tucson and Phoenix and, in time, beyond," Abraham said.

In addition, continuing its series of basic and advanced training programs in pharmacoeconomics, the center tailored programs for specific pharmaceutical companies and expanded its postdoctoral fellowship programs.

The Medication Management Center doubled its annual revenue and provided service to more than 2 million patients nationwide. Participants include Medicare, commercial insurance and self-insured employers. Services include medication therapy management, nicotine cessation and specialty services such as pain management and oncology.

The center also garnered national recognition from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for its clinical program: Program metrics show that the center delivers clinical services to 10 percent of all Medicare contracts and that 93 percent of the center's programs perform above the 50th percentile.

"With our experienced pharmacist-run call center and dedicated IT infrastructure, we are able to quickly adapt and respond to new industry standards while maintaining our focus on the patient," said Kevin Boesen, director and founder of the center.

In addition, the Medication Management Center launched an ambulatory care Postgraduate Year-Two (PGY2) pharmacy residency program in July, hiring two residents.

The Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center's funding was renewed in 2012 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, earning a renewal ranking of "exceptional."

"Receiving this funding for five more years permits us to continue our studies on the mechanisms underlying human diseases that are influenced by environmental exposure," said Serrine Lau, center director and professor at the college. "Our long-term goal is to improve the lives of the people of Arizona and the Southwest region of the U.S."

In addition to receiving renewed funding in 2012, the center partnered with the BIO5 Institute in launching two new research pilot projects: "Lung Microbiome and Arsenic Exposure" and "Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Model Human Genetic Determinants of Environmental Toxicity."

Finally, in 2012, the facility cores continued to have a tremendous impact on the quality, innovation and productivity of center investigator research programs. Advanced epigenetics analysis is now available through the genomics core following the recent purchase of an ion torrent instrument.

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