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Daniel Alexander
December 5, 2022



 The ASHP Foundation has awarded UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy alumna Ina Liu, PharmD, MS, BCPS, and her team the Literature Award for Pharmacy Practice Research for their project, “Development and validation of a predictive model to predict and manage drug shortages.”  

Liu’s team is made up of Ashley Pappas, PharmD, MHA; Casey Tak, PhD, MPH; Evan Colmenares, PharmD; Mary-Haston Vest, PharmD, MS, BCPS; Maryann Oertel, PharmD, BCPS; and Hank Clark, PharmD, MS. They were formally recognized on December 4 at the ASHP 2022 Midyear Clinical Meeting for their work. 

“Receiving this award means so much to me, not only to have this important work recognized, but also to be able to share it with my team,” said Liu. “Everyone on my team was so supportive and each offered their unique skills and perspectives. It was such an honor working with all of them to bring this innovative idea to life and sharing this award with them brings recognition to all the great work and support they have provided.” 

Liu’s project aims to create a model to effectively manage and predict drug shortages, a problem that pharmacy departments have been facing across the country due to pandemic supply disruptions. “The current process for managing drug shortages is very reactive, and once a shortage is known there are usually a lot of steps that a pharmacy or hospital has to take to prevent patient care delays or medication errors,” said Liu. “We want to change the drug shortage management strategy from a reactive process to a more proactive approach using predictive data analytics.” 

This idea was conceived by the project’s co-authors, Pappas, Colmenares and Vest, who pitched it to the incoming PGY1/2 Health-System Pharmacy Administrative Residents. Liu became interested in their pitch because of its innovative solution to address drug shortages. “I was very intrigued by this project because I love taking abstract ideas and operationalizing them into a concrete solution that can benefit patient care,” she said. “This was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up – the combination of creativity and tangible patient outcomes was what really spoke to me.” 

Liu believes the future of her team’s work is rife with potential. “Data analytics is definitely an important aspect of healthcare – for now and the future,” she said. “While my project is focused on developing and validating an initial model, it’s just the first step in showing how data analytics can be leveraged for healthcare solutions to drug shortages. I am excited to see where this can go forward from here!” 

Click here for the official ASHP announcement. 

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