Roseman University Researcher Awarded $100,000 Grant from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation (PhRMA)


unni-elizabethSOUTH JORDAN, UTAH – April 26, 2016 – Elizabeth Unni, BS Pharm, MBA, PhD, was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation to study medication adherence.

The grant will identify patients who were prescribed statin medications to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event (CVE), who then had a heart attack or other CVE. The goal of this research is to identify whether statin medication adherence changes after a CVE, and if it declines, to study patients’ changing beliefs about statins and better understand the reasons he or she might stop taking them. Identifying and understanding changes in adherence and the reasons for the change can lead to better solutions for care providers who want to help patients reduce the risk of a future cardiovascular event, and can also reduce healthcare costs in the long term.

“Comparable studies have not been done in the U.S., but it has been done in Europe, and what they have seen is that there are about 20 percent of patients who, after a CVE, stop taking their medication,” said Unni. “The additional thing we are adding is a survey of the people whose adherence decreases, to understand why they stopped taking the medications. If we can understand the reasons then we can do something as an intervention to help patients realize the importance of taking these medications.”

The grant is a collaboration between Dr. Unni from Roseman University of Health Sciences’ South Jordan, Utah campus, Olayinka Shiyanbola, BPharm, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin, and Brandon Bellows, PharmD, MS, from the University of Utah. Dr. Bellows also works at SelectHealth in Utah, so the data for the study will come from SelectHealth patients.

After they have the results of this study, Unni and her collaborators would like to do a longer-term study that identifies a baseline of patients’ beliefs toward medication adherence, then follows those people for several years to see what happens if they experience a CVE, a new diagnosis, or another life-changing event.

The PhRMA Foundation is focused on helping independent scientists conduct research on important topics related to the pharmaceutical industry. This grant funding is available three times a year; it’s extremely competitive and designed to help build a pool of “highly-trained, top-quality scientists to help meet the growing needs of scientific and academic institutions, government, and the research-intensive pharmaceutical industry,” according to the PhRMA Foundation website.

“I, and the entire College of Pharmacy faculty and staff, are proud of Dr. Unni for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Dr. Scott Stolte, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Roseman University. “She has worked hard to build the baseline of experience and expertise it takes to be competitive for a grant of this magnitude.”

This is the first PhRMA grant that any researcher from Roseman University has received. Dr. Stolte believes it may open doors for Dr. Unni and other Roseman faculty members to be granted funding from PhRMA for other projects.

“This grant is a very prestigious, highly competitive award that recognizes talented young researchers,” said Dr. Martin Lipsky, Chancellor at Roseman University’s South Jordan, Utah campus. “Dr. Unni’s grant relates to patient adherence, a critical element in developing strategies for taking better care of patients, both locally here in our own community and nationally.”

About Roseman University of Health Sciences

Founded in Henderson, Nevada in 1999, Roseman University of Health Sciences is a private, non-profit institution of higher education with campuses in Henderson and Summerlin, Nev. and South Jordan, Utah. The University is comprised of the College of Medicine, offering a Doctor of Medicine (currently in development); a College of Dental Medicine, offering an Orthodontics/MBA residency and Doctor of Dental Medicine; College of Pharmacy, offering a Doctor of Pharmacy and Professional Continuing Education; College of Nursing, offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and an MBA program. Roseman University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Find more information at

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