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Rodriguez de Bittner Named Inaugural UMMS Population Health Fellow

Year-long fellowship will focus on the evaluation of new health care delivery systems and factors that affect decision making by health system leadership.

By: Malissa Carroll
Friday, August 19, 2016

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Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been named the inaugural fellow for the University of Maryland Medical System’s (UMMS) Fellowship in Population Health. Working alongside members of UMMS senior leadership, Rodriguez de Bittner will share her expertise in pharmacy and patient care, while gaining insight about new trends in health care delivery and factors that influence leadership decision making in the field of population health.

“This fellowship represents a tremendous opportunity not only for Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner, but also for the School of Pharmacy as a whole,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School. “Since joining the faculty in 1984, Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner has proven herself to be a leader in pharmacy practice transformation. She is a true pharmacy pioneer who has worked steadily throughout her career to advance the role of pharmacists as integral members of the health care team. I look forward to hearing about her accomplishments in this new role, and am optimistic that this fellowship will provide additional opportunities for successful collaborations between the School and UMMS.”

Joining the UMMS Population Health Service Organization (PHSO), Quality Care Network (QCN), and executive leadership team, Rodriguez de Bittner will work to define roles for pharmacists in a variety of population health initiatives, such as within accountable care organizations (ACOs), the QCN, and other organizations dedicated to improving population health. She will learn about new trends in health care delivery and changes in health care across the state as a result of the Maryland Medicare waiver, as well as other new trends in health care payments.

“Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner is a terrific candidate for this fellowship, and our leadership team is delighted to have this opportunity to work alongside such an insightful, engaging, and creative clinician,” says Walter Ettinger, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chief medical officer for UMMS. “This year marks a pivotal time for our health system, as we move towards implementing a new approach to health care that will allow us to effectively and efficiently care for populations of individuals living with chronic diseases, while improving health outcomes and reducing costs associated with care for those populations. It is a truly transformational project, and as our first population health fellow, Dr. Rodriguez de Bittner will be at the epicenter of this change.”

In addition to gaining new insights to better advocate for the value that pharmacists bring to the health care team, Rodriguez de Bittner will share the lessons learned from her fellowship with faculty and staff across the School’s three departments to ensure that the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum is preparing students to enter the dynamic health care arena, as well as to develop new practice and research initiatives that align with the needs of the health system’s executive leadership team.

“When pharmacists develop ideas for new patient care programs, we often take a reactive approach to health care trends, hypothesizing about the contributions that pharmacists could make to these new initiatives,” says Rodriguez de Bittner. “This fellowship will position me in a more proactive role, helping me to better understand the needs of our health system’s leadership and the approaches they take to meet those needs. With that information, we as pharmacists can develop more innovative, effective programs that address those existing needs, thus increasing the likelihood that our programs will be incorporated into these new models of care. ”

She adds, “It truly is an extraordinary opportunity for me as a pharmacist, as well as for our School, to collaborate with the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) partner health system to serve diverse regions of our state, from urban to rural. I cannot wait to share the knowledge and experiences that I gain with both the School’s administration as well as our students.”

Rodriguez de Bittner began her fellowship with UMMS on July 1.

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