DECEMBER 01, 2007

The University of Connecticut's (UConn) new federal center may help determine which treatment physicians recommend and which prescription drugs health plans cover. The center, to be led by the School of Pharmacy in collaboration with the School of Business and Hartford Hospital, is one of 14 Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) nationwide.

As directed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the centers are responsible for conducting comprehensive, systemic reviews of research on health topics of crucial importance to the health care system. The centers are also charged with advising federal and state policy makers, professional organizations, and insurance companies on the highest quality, most effective, and most cost-effective health care treatments and delivery options.

The UConn center adds a unique perspective to the EPC program because of the pharmaceutical expertise of its scientific team, said C. Michael White, PharmD, its director and associate professor of pharmacy practice.

"Pharmacists are health care's medication experts and, as such, the profession possesses insights into patient care that often are underrepresented among leaders formulating the nation's health care policies," he said. "Having pharmacists, physicians, and health care policy experts all working together will benefit everyone," added White.