Skip to main content

Student News

photo of phop ispor team
The winning UHCOP team of Ruta Sawant, Archita Bhansali, Aisha Vadhariya and Navneet Upadhyay are flanked by coaches, left, faculty member Marc Fleming and, right, fellow student Nandita Kachru.

International Champs

UHCOP Team Wins Student Research Competition at ISPOR's 21st Annual International Meeting May 21-25

UH College of Pharmacy's team of doctoral program students clinched the Student Research Competition title at the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 21st Annual International Meeting May 21-25 in Washington, D.C.

It was a combination of knowledge, confidence, preparation and strategy that won the day for UHCOP Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy students Archita Bhansali, Ruta Sawant, Navneet Upadhyay and Aisha Vadhariya.

The competition features an academic "quiz-bowl" style format in which questions from the official ISPOR Book of Terms and ISPOR Good Research Practices for Outcomes Research are posed to two teams in head-to-head competition. The first team to hit the buzzer and provide the correct answer receives points, but wrong answers – or even attempting to answer before being recognized – results in deduction of points.

Open to any teams advancing from an initial qualifying round from the nearly 90 ISPOR student chapters around the world, the 11th annual Student Research Competition saw the UHCOP team climb its way to the top in five-round bracket of 20 total teams.

Vocal Support

Not only did the team proudly sport UH Cougar Red polos, nearly two dozen fellow students, faculty members and alumni – many of whom were also decked out in UH's signature color – created a vocal and spirited cheering section in the crowd.

"We knew all the terms from our studies and research we do at the college, but it involved a lot of confidence and strategy – including when to let the other team answer first on the more difficult or complex questions and potentially lose points – to advance and win it," Upadhyay said.

Another strategy the team employed was to play to the strengths of individual members.

"It really was a team effort; everyone answered questions, but we each had specific areas that we focused on during our practice sessions and in the competition itself," Sawant said.

Serious Business

Team members also credited the advice and encouragement of their team coaches, fellow student and past competitor  Nandita Kachru and Assistant Professor Marc L. Fleming, Ph.D., MPH, R.Ph., who himself was a member of a winning team during his doctoral degree studies.

"It's great recognition for the program and the students individually; I was really proud to see their elation at winning," Fleming said. "The judges are leaders in the industry, so it's a big deal when you win it."

Winning the 2016 competition was extra rewarding for the UHCOP team, as the win not only came with a cash prize for the college's student chapter but also took out the team that eliminated the UHCOP team in the first round of last year's competition.

In other ISPOR news, two doctoral candidates and two recent Ph.D. graduates were recognized as finalists in the Research Poster Competition. Read more about the ISPOR poster finalists here.