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Pharmacoepidemiology Research

Pharmacoepidemiology is the study of the utilization and effects of drugs in large numbers of people; it provides an estimate of the probability of beneficial effects of a drug in a population and the probability of adverse effects. It can be called a bridge science spanning both clinical pharmacology and epidemiology. Pharmacoepidemiology concentrates on clinical patient outcomes from therapeutics by using methods of clinical epidemiology and applying them to understanding the determinants of beneficial and adverse drug effects, effects of genetic variation on drug effect, duration-response relationships, clinical effects of drug-drug interactions, and the effects of medication non-adherence. Pharmacovigilance is a part of pharmacoepidemiology that involves continual monitoring, in a population, for unwanted effects and other safety concerns arising in drugs that are already on the market. Pharmacoepidemiology sometimes also involves the conduct and evaluation of programmatic efforts to improve medication use on a population basis. 

Hopkins GIM faculty members have a growing presence in the field of pharmacoepidemiology. The Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at Johns Hopkins was launched in 2012 and is co-directed by general internists Jodi Segal, MD, MPH and G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, with Sonal Singh, MD, MPH as Associate Director. The goal of the Center is to improve the safe and effective use of medications. Drawing on the combined expertise of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Center serves as a nexus for individuals at Johns Hopkins who are involved in research, education, clinical programs and public service to improve prescription drug use and pharmaceutical policy in the United States and around the world. In addition to its work with trainees and junior faculty, the Center is actively initiating partnerships and collaborations with a variety of other stakeholders vested in addressing core problem areas ranging from prescription drug abuse to barriers to accessible and affordable medicines in developing countries.

Information about the faculty working in this research area and their projects is provided below.


G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine
Co-Director, Center for Drug Sefety and Effectiveness
Research Interests: Population-based patterns and determinants of pharmaceutical use, patient-physician communication and decision-making regarding prescription drugs, and the impact of changes in pharmaceutical policy on pharmaceutical expenditures and utilization.
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed

Eric Bass, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management
Director, Evidence-Based Practice Center
Co-Director, Johns Hopkins DEcIDE Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research
Editor-in-Chief, Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Research Interests: Evidence-based medicine, medical and surgical outcomes research, cost-effectiveness,community health partnerships, medical education and curriculum development
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed    

Richard Moore, MD, MHS
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Director, Moore Clinic for HIV Care
Research Interests: Pharmacoepidemiology, outcomes research in HIV treatment, epidemiology of substance abuse and alcoholism
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed

Jodi Segal, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management
Co-Director, Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness
Research Interests: Pharmacoepidemiology, comparative effectiveness research including evidence based review, advanced methods for using observational data, evaluation of diagnostic tests, diabetes, venous thrombosis and blood disorders
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed

Sonal Singh, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine and International Health 
Associate Director, Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness
Faculty member, Center for Public Health and Human Rights
Research Interests: Pharmaceutical outcomes research, drug safety, and pharmacoepidemiology
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed

Albert Wu, MD, MPH
Professor of Health Policy and Management, Epidemiology, International Health, Medicine and Surgery
Director, Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research
Research Interests:  Patient safety, comparative effectiveness research, patient-reported outcomes, quality of care, HIV
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed


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