A faculty member from each of the 89 accredited US colleges and schools of pharmacy listed in the 2005-2006 AACP directory responded to the survey, resulting in a 100% response rate. Of the 89 schools, 74 (83%) indicated that they provided some level of pharmacoepidemiology education (Figure ). Among these schools, 69 PharmD programs indicated that they provided pharmacoepidemiology training. Among the graduate programs, 35 schools indicated that they provided pharmacoepidemiology to their MS or PhD students.
Number of professional and graduate programs offering pharmacoepidemiology at US schools and colleges of pharmacy.
The total number of classroom or clock hours offered to PharmD students ranged from 2 to 60. The mean number of classroom hours was 14.6 ± 13.9 (median = 10 hours). At the graduate level, classroom hours ranged from 2 to 135, with a mean of 36.7 ± 34.8 hours (median = 15 hours).
Of the 69 pharmacy programs offering pharmacoepidemiology at the PharmD level, 65 (94%) reported that the subject was part of their required course curriculum. Among the master of science (MS) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree programs, just over half (N=18) indicated that pharmacoepidemiology was being taught as part of their required curriculum, while 17 (49%) programs offered it as part of an elective course.
The mean number of PharmD students receiving pharmacoepidemiology education or training was 119 ± 60 per school year (median = 110 students). The average number of MS and PhD students was 6 ± 5 per school (median = 6 students).
Frequency results for each pharmacoepidemiology topic surveyed among pharmacy programs are presented in Table . For those schools that offered pharmacoepidemiology at the graduate level, all of the topics listed on the survey were taught by at least 80% of the graduate programs. For the PharmD programs, the most frequently listed topics (86% and above) included: “general application of epidemiological methods to drug use,” “estimating probability of drug effects,” “pharmacoepidemiology study design,” and “bias and confounding.” About three-fourths of the PharmD programs covered the topics of “quality-of-life measures” and “monitoring of unintended drug effects.” Just over half indicated that they covered “meta-analysis of pharmacoepidemiological studies.” Further, only one third of PharmD programs offered their students training on the use of databases used in pharmacoepidemiology research (eg, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, and industry databases).
Frequency of Pharmacoepidemiology Topics Taught In US Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy (n = 89)*
Respondents from 28 schools recorded additional comments in a section located at the end of the questionnaire. Sixteen schools indicated that pharmacoepidemiology topics were covered in other courses (eg, drug literature evaluation, health policy, pharmacoeconomics, and research methods). Four respondents reported that these topics were included in courses taught outside the school of pharmacy, such as in the school of public health or school of medicine.
Several respondents felt that the list of topics provided in the questionnaire did not represent all of the relevant subjects taught in pharmacoepidemiology. For example, one respondent stated that “population based pharmacoepidemiology” should have been included as a topic. Another respondent commented that they would not consider “quality-of-life measures” as a pharmacoepidemiology topic. Another respondent indicated that the survey did not clearly differentiate between coursework in epidemiology (which could easily be applied to the drug use process) versus coursework in pharmacoepidemiology. Several faculty members indicated that they planned to enhance their pharmacoepidemiology curricula in the near future by introducing new courses or additional topics.