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Center for Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research Education
The UIC Center for Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research Education is funded by a grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American (PhRMA) Foundation for the period 2015-2017.
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is a rapidly expanding and important area of investigation in health care. Advances in methods used to conduct CER, together with its increasing use, have contributed to an escalating demand for training and expertise in the field. While both the NIH and AHRQ have invested in mentored training awards for CER researchers, these have focused on individual trainees and are few in number. Additionally, while there are a variety of academic institutions that grant degrees in related fields (including epidemiology, health economics, health services research, biostatistics and others), these do not cover the entire spectrum of methods and applications unique to CER, nor do they provide a cogent understanding of how these disciplines contribute to the field CER. As a result, there is critical need for specialized new degree programs to educate and train researchers in CER. The PhRMA Foundation has attempted to address this need by funding the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) as the sixth and final center under its Centers of Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research Education Program.
The UIC Center for Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research Education has several aims. These include:
1) Develop a Master of Science degree in CER designed for working professionals, particularly those in pharmaceutical industry and health care organizations. For these professionals, a significant need exists for education and training in CER yet contemporary methods of teaching such as online coursework are important.
2) Act in a supportive role together with private and public partners to achieve the goal of producing high caliber comparative effectiveness researchers and practitioners who are able to interpret and use research results.
3) Furnish the necessary resources that can be used to develop corroborating evidence on the usefulness and value of sound CER.
4) Convene public forums and seminars for interested members of the public from the wider university/college community to discuss topical CER issues.
5) Promote, with other groups, the development of a CER curriculum that offers the appropriate discipline-specific educational skills, research methodology training, and case experience needed to produce highly desirable comparative effectiveness researchers and practitioners.
6) Sponsor lectures and presentations at different programs and venues, e.g., AHRQ, NIH, Industry, Universities, and other institutions that promote conscientious discussions on important CER topics.
7) Work with representatives from government, industry and education to determine the number and types of CER trained experts needed to fill the personnel demands of these societal sectors.
8) Make available to interested members of the public, by electronic publication or other easily accessible means, CER educational training tools developed with funding provided by the Foundation.
All of the faculty in the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy have contributed to the accomplishments of the Center for Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research Education. This is especially true for Aim #1 -- to develop a new online Master degree in CER – which has required the development of new courses and the conversion of existing course to online format. Many of the PSOP graduate students have also played key roles in the work of the Center. The Co-PIs for the grant are Glen Schumock and Simon Pickard.
Summary of Progress
Highlights of the accomplishments of the Center to-date are provided below.
The primary aim of the Center was to develop a new online Master of Science degree in CER. This has been completed and approved at all levels of the University. The program is admitting students now for the Fall of 2007. This program was a major undertaking that involved the development of new courses, the conversion of existing course to online format, and extensive planning and justification. For more information see “MS in Comparative Effectiveness Research.”
Working with faculty from the University of Maryland and the University of Washington, and individuals from the PhRMA Foundation, the UIC Center for Excellence in Comparative Effectiveness Research has led the planning of a major conference to take place in early 2017. The conference theme is “Educating Users of Comparative Effectiveness and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.”
The Center has sponsored seminars and education programs in CER-related topics for researchers, practitioners, and others interested in the subject. Some of these have been made available to the public via this website. See “Department Seminar”.
The Center has worked with other interested parties, including regional and national associations, academics, pharmaceutical companies, and others to investigate the needs of CER-trained researchers and to develop resources to meet those needs, including corroborating evidence on the usefulness and value of sound CER.