College of Pharmacy at UTHSC Rises to Number 23 in Annual Research Funding from NIH

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After a strategic effort to grow research, the College of Pharmacy at UTHSC is now ranked Number 23 in annual funding from the NIH.

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-30s. The rise in NIH funding reflects a strategic effort over the last several years by the college to develop its research enterprise in support of and along with its excellence in academic programs.

UTHSC College of Pharmacy Dean Marie-Chisholm Burns

“This accomplishment is spectacular,” said Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, 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 important in order 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 rank 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 led by the vision Dean Chisholm-Burns outlined five years ago. Today, the college has many investigators, who have received multiple research grants.

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 for research, creating a supportive culture for research, providing 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.”