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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI co-sponsoring international drug safety, effectiveness conference in Providence

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

800 from academia, government, industry to participate

KINGSTON, August 3, 2009 – Due in large part to the involvement of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy, the International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk will hold its next session in Providence, Aug. 16 through 19.

Previously held in such cities as Bordeaux, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon and Quebec, the conference chose Providence this year for its 25th anniversary international gathering. About 800 participants from six continents representing academia, government and industry will be attending the conference at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The presentations will focus on pharmacoepidemiology, the study of the safety, effectiveness, and interactions of drugs used by large population groups. The topics range from cancer to schizophrenia. Another major topic will be pharmaco-genetics, the study and development of customized medicines based on individual gene codes.

Ronald P. Jordan, dean of the College of Pharmacy, said drug therapy is the most frequently used form of medical therapy and is always a key economic driver in health care systems worldwide. He said it is well known that positive and negative health care outcomes can occur based on the quality of prescription drug therapy and therefore it can be a major driver of other types of health care costs like hospitalization and physician visits.

“This international conference brings together experts on the study of these areas, and it is a great honor for our College of Pharmacy and its faculty to act as local hosts for this meeting. With the economic conditions in this country and in particular within Rhode Island, health care and pharmaceutical drivers are critical forces to understand. Our College of Pharmacy faculty are working hard to add to our knowledge in these areas locally, nationally and internationally and hosting this meeting here in Providence provides solid evidence of the importance and success of our work.”

The School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Brown University Program in Public Health are the other sponsors.

Associate Professor Brian Quilliam, a faculty member in the URI College of Pharmacy Program in Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, is chair of the local host committee, and Kate Lapane, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health at VCU, is the scientific committee chair. Associate Professors Quilliam and Tamar Lasky as well as three URI graduate students, Aisling Caffrey, Jason Simeone and Thamir Alshammari will also be presenting at the conference. Aisling Caffrey will be presenting part of her dissertation work, Effectiveness of linezolid among a national cohort of patients infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a study conducted at the Providence Veteran’s Affairs hospital. Also presenting thesis work, Jason Simeone will be showcasing the results of an analysis for the state of Vermont’s Medicaid program, titled Behavioral Medication in a Medicaid Population Pre and Post Formulary Implementation, assessing the effectiveness of a recent managed care initiative to promote efficient prescribing if behavioral health medications. Thamir Alshammari will be presenting work emanating from a summer internship at the US Food and Drug Administration, titled: Comparison of Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) Reports Submitted to the FDA by Consumers and Healthcare Professionals (HCPs).

Quilliam said URI has a strong record of involvement with the organization, and has worked closely over many years with Lapane, who formerly worked at the Department of Community Health at Brown University.

Lapane, who earned her master’s degree in statistics at URI, E. Paul Larrat, associate dean of the College of Pharmacy, Quilliam and others, began planning the conference when Lapane was at Brown.

“Historically, we have worked on many great projects with Dr. Lapane and now that she is at Virginia Commonwealth, we expect to develop a strong URI-VCU connection,” Larrat said.

“This is a great partnership among URI, VCU and Brown,” added Quilliam.

Talks will be given by representatives from the National Institutes of Health, leading universities from around the world, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and global pharmaceutical companies and many other groups and agencies.

For full conference details, go to https://www.pharmacoepi.org/meetings/25thconf/index.cfm
To cover the event, call Dave Lavallee, URI Department of Communications at 401-874-2116.