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Above, UHCOP team members are pictured with the judges for the ISPOR Student Research Competition. 

Team UHCOP Places Third at ISPOR

PHOP Doctoral Students Climb to Third Place Finish in Research Competition at ISPOR 19th Annual International Meeting 

A team of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy graduate students from UH College of Pharmacy climbed to a third-place finish in the Student Research Competition at the 19th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) May 31-June 4 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The UH team comprised PHOP doctoral students Erin Ferries, MPH, and Mark Hatfield, M.S. '13; master's program students Shalak Gunjal and Navneet Upadhyay; and doctoral student Nipun Atreja, who served as an alternate. With the team's third-place finish, ISPOR provided an award of $500 to the UH ISPOR Chapter.  

A total of 16 teams from across the U.S. and India competed in the quiz-bowl style competition with questions drawn from Health Care Cost, Quality and Outcomes: ISPOR Book of Terms. An official publication of ISPOR, the book incorporates more than 400 terms used in health care delivery, management, and regulation, as well as healthcare outcomes research including clinical, economic, and quality-of-life research terms.

"Everyone on the team is very competitive, so we put in a lot of time quizzing each other as well as getting help from other students," Ferries said. "We felt like we were very prepared because many of the questions we knew from what we'd learned in the classroom. The competition itself was a lot of fun, and there was a post-competition reception at which we made some great connections and new friendships with other students."

PHOP Department Associate Professor Marc L. Fleming, Ph.D., MPH, R.Ph., who served as the team "coach," said he developed a system to approach the competition that resulted in first- and second-place finishes for the teams on which he competed while a doctoral student.

"I imparted this knowledge to the team then emphasized to them that winning has many benefits beyond just winning the competition," Fleming said. "It is great exposure for the students and for the PHOP program. The judges are usually very prominent managers in pharmaceutical companies with divisions in health economics and outcomes research (HEOR). Therefore, this exposure could potentially be beneficial when job seeking.

"Just as important is beating out other well-known programs is also very gratifying. I am really proud of the teams effort and look forward to next year’s competition."      

UHCOP teams have placed among the top three finalists in the competition for three of the past four years. 


Above, the ISPOR Student Research Competition team of Navneet Upadhyay, Nipun Atreja (alternate), Erin Ferries, Shalak Gunjal and Mark Hatfield, are flanked by UH PHOP faculty members Rajender Aparasu, far left, and Marc Fleming, far right.