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PHSR Scholarship Awards Shine Spotlight on Stellar Students

Special ceremony recognizes four graduate students in the PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research program with awards celebrating superior scholastic achievement.

Award winners pose for group photo with donors who generously sponsored scholarships.

By Malissa Carroll
December 11, 2019

The Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted its Graduate Program Awards Presentation and Reception in October to present the Harris Zuckerman Scholarship Award, the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Scholarship, the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Student Travel Scholarship, and the Donald O. Fedder Memorial Fellowship to four exceptional students in its doctoral program.

“As director of the PHSR Graduate Program, I can confidently say that our faculty are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to teach, mentor, and work with such stellar students, all of whom bring their ‘A game’ to the collective work we do to improve population health through evidence and advocacy,” says Danya Qato, PhD, PharmD, MPH, assistant professor in PHSR and director of the PhD and MS programs in PHSR. “We received more nominations recognizing our wonderful students than we had awards to present, and we were delighted for this chance to honor those students who were ultimately selected as the recipients of this year’s awards.”

Continuing the Legacy of Extraordinary Alumni

The Harris Zuckerman Scholarship Award was endowed by Ilene Harris, PharmD ’83, PhD, retired professor and chair of PHSR, to assist students interested in jointly pursuing Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and PhD degrees. Named in honor of her parents – Daniel Harris, MD, and Ann Harris – the scholarship provides support for the training, development, and advancement of graduate students in the PhD in PHSR program at the School.

Bansri Desai, PharmD ’15, was named the 2019 recipient of the award in recognition of her superior academic achievement as a pharmacist-scholar whose research interests span the fields of both health services research and pharmacy practice.

“It is an honor to receive this award,” she says. “As graduate students, it means a great deal when those who have gone before us extend a helping hand to allow us to succeed as well. The strong support that we receive from members of the PHSR community, both past and present, is integral to the unique experiences and opportunities that benefit us during our time in the program and beyond. I thank Dr. Harris for her continued generosity.”

As the first student admitted to the PhD in PHSR program, Arthur (Artie) Schwartz demonstrated great interest in drug use and pharmaceutical marketing issues. Following his death at an early age, his wife Karen Schwartz established the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Scholarship to provide funding for future students in the program based on academic standing and financial need. Graduate student Husam Albarmawi, MS, BPharm, who one nominator described as “dependable, resourceful, and hard working,” was celebrated as the 2019 recipient of the scholarship.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Schwartz Family for establishing this scholarship and to the faculty in PHSR for selecting me to receive the award,” says Albarmawi. “Throughout my time in PHSR, I have always felt encouraged to excel both as a student and as an academic researcher. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to further advance my research skills and enhance my professional development. I am both humbled and honored to receive this year’s award.”

Honoring the Memory of Trailblazing Faculty

Established by Michaeline Fedder in honor of her husband Donald Fedder, DrPH, MPH, BSP, FAPhA, a public health pharmacist and long-time faculty member at the School of Pharmacy who passed away in 2010, the Donald O. Fedder Memorial Fellowship supports the training and development of a graduate student whose work focuses on social justice, pharmacy advocacy, or public health. In recognition of her demonstrated commitment to ensuring health equity through health literacy, Rosie Love, MPH, was named the 2019 recipient of the award.

“It is an honor to receive this award, which celebrates the memory of Dr. Fedder and his pioneering work to ensure that members of the community were heard and taken care of in his pharmacy practice,” says Love. “As an aspiring health services researcher, I am passionate about including the voice of the patient in the development of all new medicines, and I believe it is the responsibility of all researchers to ensure that our materials are health literate, accessible, and representative of the patients that they are intended to impact. Thanks to the generosity of the Fedder family, I will be able to continue my studies with this as the focal point of my work.”

Helping Students Showcase Their Research

Also presented during the ceremony was the PHSR Student Travel Scholarship. Spearheaded by C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR, this scholarship was established with generous financial support from PHSR staff, faculty, students, and alumni. Its funds can be used to pay for travel expenses related to attendance and participation in professional conferences for any student enrolled in courses taught by faculty in the department.

Aakash Gandhi, BPharm, was named the 2019 recipient of this award. He used the scholarship to present a poster highlighting his research, titled “Opioid Use Patterns and Healthcare Use Among Individuals with Comorbid Chronic Non-Cancer Pain and Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Europe 2019 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in November.

“It was an honor to receive the PHSR Student Travel Scholarship,” says Gandhi. “This award made it possible for me to travel across the Atlantic to present my research at an international conference, where my poster received the Best Poster Award in the Student Poster Category. None of this would have been possible without the support I received from this department.”

 To learn how you can support scholarships for graduate students in the PhD in PHSR program, please visit this webpage.

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