University of the Sciences is currently evaluating the creation of a joint Comparative Effective Research (CER) initiative as part of the University’s 2012-13 strategic planning efforts. The first potential initiative will focus on building an online master’s program in CER and analysis through the Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, while a second separate and complementary effort would host a comparative effectiveness and analysis research center, whose mission would be to seek State and Federal research grants along with possible commercial opportunities. It is believed that both initiatives could allow USciences to further develop our current academic presence and research capabilities, while expanding our business opportunities and strategic partnerships into new fields of study.
The master’s program, as it is currently envisioned, would seek to recruit new and diverse students from across the spectrum of healthcare professionals, and will likely target mainly mid-career working professionals from pharmacy, medicine, and other health science careers. The master’s program is expected to draw course expertise from throughout USci to include instruction in: business, health policy, medical writing and communication, as well as healtheconomics and statistics. In addition, several customized courses would need to be developed to specifically address the unique needs of a CER graduate program to improve students’ awareness and critical understanding of this emerging field of study. A critical emphasis in the planning of any new program would be a novel focus on analysis, interpretation and communication of current and future research, while also serving as an applied training and experience for key future “stakeholders” throughout the medical, payor, academic, government and employer communities.
The research center is being constructed to work in collaboration with academic, commercial, and government agencies to extend the current level of work within the fields of CER and analysis, while allowing USci to contribute through original research and applied analysis on how advances in CER may impact future healthcare policy and clinical outcomes. It is expected that these research efforts would allow USciences to build upon many of the University’s core capabilities, while expanding our reach into new and future directions in healthcare sciences. The research center is being conceived to also act as a “hands-on” training and experience opportunity for students from the master’s program as well as other related undergraduate programs at USciences.
As an important part of this initiative, USciences conducted a comprehensive needs analysis and cost effectiveness review, to determine if either the master’s program and/or the research center would be valuable contributions to the University’s current offerings. The master’s program was well received by both the academic community and by potential employers of our graduates. It was felt that the Mayes master’s program filled an important void in educating both knowledgeable users of current CER information as well as becoming key stakeholders in future research. The research center was equally well acknowledged for both its potential role in shaping health policy as well as bringing a cross functional perspective view to identifying new measures of value in healthcare.
Both of the above initiatives are still being actively updated and evaluated through a cooperative effort across several USciences Colleges and Departments that has included the Office of the Provost, Business Development, multiple Departments within Mayes College and the College of Pharmacy. Finally, integral to the planning goals of any new programs would be the continued expansion of our unique strategic partnerships with Cooper Rowan Medical Center and School of Medicine, along with other emerging strategic partnerships.
Dr. Andrew M. Peterson, dean, and Dr. Grant D. Lawless, dean’s professor, both of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy will continue to update the USciences faculty and student body throughout the year ahead on the planning and continued vision for these new and emerging programs.