Junling Wang Receives Grant for Medication Management Research

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Junling Wang, PhD, associate professor of Health Outcomes and Policy Research in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UTHSC, has received a grant totaling $886,742 from the National Institute on Aging.

Junling Wang, PhD, associate professor of Health Outcomes and Policy Research in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $886,742 from the National Institute on Aging, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be used to further her study on medication therapy management (MTM) and its effects on racial and ethnic disparities. The award will be funded over a three-year period for the study titled, “Health Implications of MTM Eligibility Criteria.”

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act — implemented in 2006 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — requires prescription drug plans for Medicare beneficiaries to establish MTM programs with a purpose to “optimize therapeutic outcomes by improving medication use and reducing adverse events.” However, Dr. Wang and her team’s recently published analyses of historical data demonstrate that racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to be eligible for MTM than Caucasians.

“Our long-term goal for this project is to determine the types of government policies and congressional legislation that can reduce disparities,” said Dr. Wang. “To understand the health implications of MTM eligibility criteria for minorities, we will determine whether the racial and ethnic disparities in health status, health services utilization and costs, and medication utilization patterns among MTM-eligible individuals are different from the disparities among MTM-ineligible individuals.”

This research proves important because significant differences among MTM-ineligible individuals would suggest that the MTM eligibility criteria have the potential to aggravate racial and ethnic differences.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.