UMB Holds Interdisciplinary Seminar on Pharmacoepidemiology
|More than 70 students and faculty members representing all of the
schools at the University of
Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) attended the university's first
interdisciplinary seminar on pharmacepidemiology.|
A pediatrician whose research has influenced global health policy gave
the address, "Not
Quite What They Were Planning: Evaluating Unintended Consequences of
Prescription Medications." William
Cooper, MD, MPH is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics
and Health Policy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
The seminar was intended to foster learning and research across
disciplines, in keeping with UMB's focus on interprofessional education
(IPE). The largest contingent was from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
(SOP), whose students and faculty played key roles in hosting Cooper
during his visit to Baltimore. The School of Medicine and the School of Nursing (SON)
were also well represented. Shown in the photo above with Cooper,
left, is SON student Matthew Maizels.
The April 16 event was presented by the UMB student chapter of the International
Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE), whose members planned and
organized all aspects. The chapter's faculty advisers include SOP
faculty members Julie
Zito, BSPharm, PhD, professor, and Susan dosReis,
BSPharm, PhD, associate professor, both of Pharmaceutical Health
Services Research .
After joking about the imposing name of the topic featured in the
seminar and his own specialty -- pharmacoepidemiology -- Cooper noted
inclusive nature. Multiple practitioners and scholars become part of a
larger whole when their observations and findings are disseminated and
bring about change in health care policy and clinical practice.
Cooper and his colleagues were at the heart of one such crucial change,
which resulted from their 2006
publication of a study that found major congenital malformations in
infants whose mothers took ACE inhibitors during pregnancy. The work
led to revised guidelines for prescribing blood-pressure medications to
In welcoming Cooper to Baltimore, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD,
spoke of Cooper's findings and their impact while reminding the
audience that he speaks as a fellow pediatrician. Perman called the
study "an outstanding example of how one case in pediatric
practice can be translated into a population health framework for
Perman suggested that students envision making similar contributions in
their own fields in the future. Gazing at those seated in the SON
lecture hall, he said he was delighted to see many schools represented
at the inaugural campus-wide address. "This is working," he said,
referring to the university's IPE effort.
M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the SON and director of UMB's
for interprofessional Education was among the IPE leaders in
attendance. SOP Dean Natalie D.
Eddington, PhD, was unable to be present. However Zito read a
statement on her behalf.
The dean's comments highlighted pharmacoepidemiology as a key
biomedical science. She stated: "The issue of unintended consequences
of prescription medications is one that certainly the faculty, staff,
and students at the School of Pharmacy confront on a daily basis, but
it is a topic that all of us as health care and human services
professionals should be concerned about. All of us-- pharmacists,
nurses, physicians, dentists, lawyers, and social workers-- play a role
in helping our patients and clients get the most benefit from their
medications. And it requires that all of us work collaboratively to
ensure the safe use of these medications."
In his presentation, Cooper spoke of the importance of "our collective
work together as nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and attorneys," among
other disciplines, and urged listeners to strive "to make a difference
in all those things to which we each bring a passion."
He shared a pivotal moment in his own career, when a lifelong quest to
spare the vulnerable arose from a case that shook him during his
residency at a Cincinnati hospital. A 2-month old infant had starved to
death while being fed nothing but water during three days of neglect.
"It set me on a path to not let that happen," he said.
The path eventually led Cooper to delve into the roots of adverse
outcomes for vulnerable patients in many different circumstances. In
his role as a pharmacoepidemiologist, the unifying element is to reveal
and quantify any harm caused unexpectedly by prescribed medications.
Because so few medications are studied in children and pregnant women,
the consequences of drug therapies for these patients are among the
least understood, he said.
To tease out results that may take years to manifest themselves, he
said, his research
methodology at Vanderbilt utilizes large statewide databases and
incorporates data from several different health plans from across the
UMB's chapter of the pharmacoepidemiology society has similar
interests. "We're big data people," said Mehmet Burcu, MS, who as a
member was a leading organizer of the event. In his remarks, Burcu said
the chapter "welcomes any school, any program, any department."
The event, which included a question and answer session, was followed
by a reception hosted by the chapter. Burcu presented a plaque to
Cooper, who stands seventh from left in the photo below with faculty
advisers and student members from the SOP. Shown left to right are dos
Reis; Melissa Ross; Dinci Pennap; Patience Moyo; Xinyi Ng; Burcu; Cooper; Xian Shen; Bilal Khokhar; Mindy Tai; Jane Huang; and Zito.