Characterization of pharmacy practice research centers across the United States

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020 Feb;16(2):230-237. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2019.05.009. Epub 2019 May 22.


Background: Schools of Pharmacy are important contributors to pharmacy practice research and several have created research centers focusing on this area.

Objectives: To identify and characterize pharmacy practice research centers in the United States.

Methods: A comprehensive list of research centers was gathered using three sources: 1) websites of Schools of Pharmacy obtained from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy website; 2) Google; and 3) department chairs. Two independent reviewers applied the following exclusion criteria to the list: 1) no affiliation with a School of Pharmacy; 2) no focus on research; 3) not an independent unit recognized at the school or university levels; and 4) research not focused on advancing pharmacy practice. Inter-rater reliability was calculated using a prevalence-adjusted bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK). A questionnaire was developed comprising 24 questions grouped into three sections - overall structure of the center, research and educational activities - and disseminated through center directors. Descriptive statistics of survey data were obtained.

Results: Twenty centers across 20 different states were identified. Survey response rate was 100%. Three-quarters of centers were at public institutions and half had an advisory board. Full-time equivalents ranged from 0.2 to 21. Areas of research primarily focused on medication and disease-state management and interprofessional collaboration in the ambulatory/outpatient setting. Few centers (35%) conducted experimental studies. Despite 85% centers conducting multi-site studies, the median number of sites engaged was low (range 1-3). Seven centers received over USD 1 million in total funding since inception. A majority of centers (90%) offered educational activities for both students and professionals.

Conclusions: Pharmacy practice research centers are relatively small, received low funding and few conduct multi-site experimental studies. Collaboration among centers could be a means to overcome these issues.

Keywords: Faculty; Pharmacy [MeSH]; Pharmacy research [MeSH]; Research [MeSH]; Schools; United States [MeSH].

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / methods
  • Academic Medical Centers / trends*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faculty, Pharmacy*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacy Research / methods
  • Pharmacy Research / trends*
  • Schools, Pharmacy / trends*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States