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Brittany Jennings
October 15, 2021

Rachel Parry, Pharm.D.

Fourth-year Ph.D. candidate Rachel Parry, Pharm.D., recently received an R36 dissertation award from The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to support her dissertation that aims to improve gynecologic care.

The $42,210 award will support her research, “Bimanual pelvic examinations: temporal trends and imposed barriers to self-administered contraception use,” for one year.

Parry, who studies in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, said bimanual pelvic examinations (when a provider manually palpates or feels some of the internal pelvic organs) have been a standard component of preventive medical care for people with female reproductive organs for decades.

However, recent literature and position statements question the routine use of screening bimanual pelvic examinations – those done in the absence of a problem or complaint by patients.

Parry’s dissertation project will address a critical cap in knowledge about when and why screening bimanual pelvic examinations are used, and to what extent (if any) they are related prescribing or using the birth control pill, patch, or ring (self-administered hormonal contraceptives).

“This award will support my dissertation work, where I’m refining my skills using a large, insurance claims database and  semi-structured interviews to study this really neat intersection of health services and pharmaceutical use. I’m passionate about women’s health and advancing the evidence to facilitate safe, accessible, and affordable health care services, and I’m incredibly grateful to have the support of this award for my dissertation work,” Parry said.

About the future of her work, she added, “I hope our findings in this project will support policy recommendations and future interventions to support evidence-based gynecologic care.”

Parry’s Dissertation Committee and other key leaders involved include: Delesha Carpenter, Ph.D., MSPH (Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, UNC-SOP); Alan Kinlaw, Ph.D., MSPH (Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, UNC-SOP); Andrea Knittel, MD, Ph.D., FACOG (Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology, UNC School of Medicine); Casey Tak, Ph.D., MPH (Pharmacotherapy, University of Utah); and Carolyn Thorpe, Ph.D., MPH (Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, UNC-SOP).

The project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, through Grant Award Number UL1TR002489. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH

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