College of Pharmacy at UTHSC Rises From High 30s to 23 in Annual Research Funding from NIH

Written by Peggy Reisser

The College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is now ranked Number 23 in annual research funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to a new listing of 141 member institutions published by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

The ranking for federal fiscal year 2016 is a dramatic increase from the College of Pharmacy’s past five-year ranking in the mid to high 30s. The rise in NIH funding reflects a strategic effort over the last five years by the Dean and college to grow its research enterprise while increasing excellence in academic programs.

“This accomplishment is spectacular,” said Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, dean of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy. “We are accomplishing more excellence in terms of research by making it a priority, as discovery and dissemination of knowledge is critical to improve health care.”

NIH funding to the College of Pharmacy has grown from approximately $3.4 million in 2014 to approximately $6.5 million in 2016.

“Because NIH funding is highly competitive, it is widely regarded as a benchmark for scientific rigor and excellence in research,” said Bernd Meibohm, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the College of Pharmacy. The new NIH funding ranking more closely mirrors the college’s ranking by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Top 20 colleges of pharmacy in the nation, he said.

The increase in NIH funding represents a team effort based on the vision Dean Chisholm-Burns outlined five years ago. Today, the college has many investigators who have received multiple research grants.  Dean Chisholm-Burns expresses her sincere thanks to all involved including Chancellor Steve Schwab and Executive Vice Chancellor Ken Brown who supported her vision 5 years ago and still support it today.

Efforts by the college and campus to foster more research have resulted from vision, hard work, resources, and determination. Specifically, they have included creating expectations for research productivity; providing incentives, a supportive culture, and training for researchers; and recruiting and retaining successful researchers.

The College of Pharmacy’s research enterprise offers a wide diversity of activities. It includes research areas pertaining to drug discovery, preclinical and clinical development through drug utilization, outcome research and clinical research targeted at applied pharmacotherapy.

“This is a great beginning, and we look forward to much more success as we move along this journey,” Dean Chisholm-Burns said. “We will keep striving for excellence in this area, while simultaneously striving for excellence in our other missions, including teaching and service.”

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