The College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center ranks number 16 in annual research funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to a new listing published by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy of its 142 member institutions.
Over the past few years, the UTHSC College of Pharmacy has maintained a top 20 ranking and this year jumped four places to number 16. NIH funding is highly competitive and a top 20 ranking is widely recognized as a benchmark of scientific excellence.
“In 2008, the school had roughly $1.5 million in NIH funding. To come from $1.5 million to over $11 million in NIH funding annually is a huge accomplishment and represents a lot of focus, redirecting, determination, and effort,” said Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, dean of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy.
The increase in NIH funding was a team effort led by Dean Chisholm-Burns, the college’s executive committee, the Chancellor and other campus administration, and the college’s faculty who serve as principal investigators for several research grants. This process involved everyone including all faculty and staff who support the teaching, service, and research mission of the college. The college also ranks among the top 20 in U.S. News & World Report among all colleges of pharmacy in the country.
Many steps were taken to increase grant funding including a College of Pharmacy internal seed grant program for novel research initiatives; the establishment of faculty teams with complementary research skills; and a newly organized collegewide research support team. In addition, strategic recruitment and retention efforts were key to the growth in grant funding. The dean indicated she is proud of all faculty and staff, especially the new faculty and staff, who are not only part of the college family, but represent the future.
NIH funded research in the college encompasses areas including drug discovery, preclinical and clinical development through drug utilization, outcomes research, and clinical research targeted at refinement of applied pharmacotherapy.
“Major research efforts were concentrated on the development of new therapies against various cancer indications; infections; neurologic, immunologic and urologic conditions; and health outcomes, disparities, and policy research,” said Dr. Bernd Meibohm, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, professor and associate dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the College of Pharmacy.
“Our team will continue to look onward with zeal and determination as that is what moved this needle when others thought it could not be moved,” Dean Chisholm-Burns said.