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The Impact of Innovative Research

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Where an ASHP Foundation Research Grant Can Take You

Jeannie Lee, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCGP, FASHP was not dreaming about major research studies and funding. She was working at Walter Reed, assisting on a clinical trial, and enjoying caring for geriatric patients. The journey to a career in geriatric care and research all began with her grandparents, to whom she was very close. Her grandmother struggled with multiple chronic conditions, and both grandparents suffered from dementia towards the end of their lives. “We know that older adults have more chronic conditions and use more medications than any other age group, but we currently don’t have enough healthcare professionals trained in geriatric care." Then she read about the ASHP Foundation Federal Services Junior Investigator Research Grant. “The Foundation grant was the first spark to my research flame, which is going strong!” In a country where 10,000 people a day turn 65, research is just one way in which Dr. Lee is having a tremendous positive impact on geriatric care. 

More than anything else, Dr. Lee’s dedication to collaboration and sharing her pharmacy knowledge has led to her involvement on major research projects such as “Geriatric Patient Care by U.S. Pharmacists in Healthcare Teams” and “Demonstrating Pharmacists’ Impact as Team Members on Therapeutic, Safety, Humanistic, and Economic Health Outcomes.” “It’s really about working within teams that dream the same dreams you do and really care about patient care,” she says. It’s easy to see why she was named 2015 Geriatrician of the Year by the Arizona Geriatrics Society. “I hope that people and patients are better listened to, cared for, and valued because of my teaching, research, and service,” she says. 

She is now an associate professor at the University of Arizona Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine and assistant head in the Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science, where she has served as clinical investigator on diverse research studies. Dr. Lee is currently working on the NIH-funded “Chronic Disease Health Beliefs, Medication Adherence, and Health Literacy (RxHL)” with UA Anthropology, and HRSA-funded “National Center for Integrative Primary Healthcare (NCIPH)” with Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine and UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. Most recently, her collaboration with UA College of Nursing, “Medication Education, Decision Support, Reminding and Monitoring (MEDSReM),” received funding from NIH.

For any pharmacist thinking about embarking on a research study, Dr. Lee offers this advice: “Find a great mentor who can guide you, a collaborative research team to have fun with, and never give up finding creative solutions to problems, new and old.” And, she urges, apply for an ASHP Foundation research grant: “It is an opportunity for health-system pharmacists to explore innovative approaches to answering practice-based and patient care-related questions. I’d like to encourage practicing pharmacists in all healthcare settings: Just think about a patient care question that always comes up and see if you can formulate an innovative solution to that question, then go for that research grant!”