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Southern Pharmacy Administration Conference

Researchers, Students to Present Health Outcomes Findings During Regional Meeting at UHCOP June 24-26

June 9 — The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Elisabeth Uphoff Kato, M.D., MRP, will present "Getting Evidence into Practice: Lessons from the Opioid Epidemic" as the keynote address at the 2022 Southern Pharmacy Administration Conference (SPAC) June 24-26 at the University of Houston campus.

SPAC features podium, poster and workshop presentations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities for researchers, practitioners and students from institutions across the southern U.S. This year's event is being co-hosted by UH College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy and The Prescription Drug Misuse Education and Research (PREMIER) Center.

"We are excited to host the SPAC 2022 in state-of-the-art College of Pharmacy building and are looking forward to welcoming all graduate students, faculty, and invited guests to Houston," said Rajender R. Aparasu, Ph.D., FAPhA, who serves as department chair and Mustafa and Sanober Lokhandwala Endowed Professor in Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy.

Kato serves as a medical officer in AHRQ's Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement, where she coordinates AHRQ activities related to Substance Use Disorder and supports the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care. She previously served as medical officer to the Evidence-based Practice Center Program and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force at AHRQ. Prior to joining the federal government, she worked as a Senior Medical Research Analyst with Hayes Inc.

Before turning to medicine, Kato worked on international development projects in Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. Kato received her medical training at the University of Maryland and received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Cornell University.

In addition to the keynote address, a workshop on "Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Health Outcomes Research" will be presented by Nethra Sambamoorthi, Ph.D., and Usha Sambamoorthi, Ph.D.

Nethra is the founder and managing director of the Institute of Analytics USA™, a big-data intelligence training institute for statistical learning (SL), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Since the institute’s inception at the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University, Sambamoorthi has been involved in curriculum development and teaching in the data science program.

In addition, he has guided more than 80 graduate-level capstone/thesis projects and served as a mentor for Ph.D. dissertations in diverse SL and AI/ML applications. Sambamoorthi has received funding for his data science-related work from the National Institutes of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research, universities, and industry. He is currently focusing on commercial solutions and product development that include "NLP," "recommendation engines," "Deep Learning," "'Internet of Things' engineering and networked AI agents," and "Chatbots." In addition, he has created two SaaS products: "InteractMail" and "ROItrends."

Usha is a professor and associate dean of Health Outcomes Research in the College of Pharmacy, University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. She has over 35 years of experience with investigative health services and outcomes research with consistent extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), private organizations and the industry.

Usha is an interdisciplinary researcher with collaborators across diverse disciplines such as medicine, pharmacy, public health, statistics, social work and epidemiology. Her collaborative work with large datasets has resulted in over 250 publications (PubMed alone). One of the few scientists applying AI ML methods to health outcomes research, she has published ML articles related to medication use, cancer, osteoarthritis, low-value care, depression, and heart failure. She currently serves as the MPI (PI: JK Viswanatha) of the AIM-AHEAD coordinating Center, a two-year, $100 million NIH-funded program to promote AI/ML in under-represented communities.