On Dec. 1, 2011, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation awarded Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington each a $250,000 grant to establish a three-year graduate certificate program. The program is formally known as the PhRMA Foundation Center of Excellence for a Comparative-Effectiveness Research (CER) Educational Program. The funds are the foundation’s first grants to educational institutions.
The graduate certificate program is intended to help develop university-based masters and doctoral curricular programs in CER at American colleges and schools. The program’s students ultimately will teach, research, and interpret CER to improve patient outcomes. The new grant, which will be awarded annually, also will help support CER programs, such as those underway at the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, by giving researchers and practitioners the educational tools to carry out CER studies.
“In an effort to attract well-qualified candidates to the growing field of CER and build a strong foundation for such patient-centered research, we awarded—for the first time ever—a grant to top educational institutions to develop a graduate-level curriculum around CER,” said Jean Paul Gagnon, chairman of the CER advisory committee at the PhRMA Foundation, in a press release. “While there were several excellent candidates that applied for the grant, this year’s recipients were chosen because they displayed strong track records conducting CER and demonstrated a commitment to advancing the field through related activities.”
CER examines the clinical effectiveness, benefits, and risks of medical or healthcare interventions, including drugs, medical technology, and approaches to organizing and managing healthcare. Doctors use the results of comparison studies to make informed healthcare decisions and improve patient care.
As part of the grant, both universities are required to collaborate with each other to help produce high-caliber comparative-effectiveness researchers and practitioners. The foundation’s criteria for a CER educational program are listed on its website.
“My colleagues and I at the University of Washington are very excited and pleased to be launching a Graduate Certificate Program in Comparative Effectiveness Research with the support of the PhRMA Foundation,” said Lou Garrison, associate director of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program at University of Washington, in a press release. “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 methodological and information needs.”
“The faculty members of the Center for Healthcare Services and Outcomes Research at Johns Hopkins University are excited to develop a Center of Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research Education,” said Jodi B. Segal, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, in a press release. “We are beginning by developing a certificate program in comparative effectiveness research that will be available to degree and nondegree students. Concurrently, we will be converting two of our CER-relevant courses so that they are accessible through the Hopkins online learning program; and we will prepare a series of seminars that will be available via a video archive to all viewers.”
The PhRMA Foundation supports drug discovery and the careers of scientific investigators, faculty members, and physicians. To date, it has funded the research of more than 2200 young scientists.