UAMS Invests Geoffrey M. Curran, Ph.D., in Inaugural Endowed Chair in Pharmacy Practice Innovation

By Benjamin Waldrum

“Implementation science helps pharmacists work at the top of their license and deliver more evidence-based practices and life-saving treatments to more people,” said Curran. “This chair will be extremely helpful to support the implementation science team’s mission to get more of the stuff that works to the people who need it.”

Curran, who joined UAMS in 1999, is a professor of pharmacy practice in the College of Pharmacy and director of the UAMS Center for Implementation Research. He has additional faculty appointments in the College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. He also is a research health scientist at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.

Curran with family

Curran poses with members of his family at the investiture.Evan Lewis

An endowed chair is among the highest academic honors a university can bestow on a faculty member. A chair is established with gifts of at least $1 million, which are invested and the interest proceeds used to support the educational, research and clinical activities of the chair holder. Those named to a chair are among the most highly regarded scientists, physicians and professors in their fields.

“Geoffrey Curran is a highly accomplished researcher who has made many contributions to the field of pharmacy practice,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and UAMS Health CEO. “He is a strong advocate for community pharmacies across the state, and his work has and will continue to help drive innovation and bring more and better treatments to all Arkansans.”

“This chair is the culmination of many individuals’ generosity and longstanding support of the College of Pharmacy,” said Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy. “I believe this chair embodies a legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship that Arkansas pharmacists are known for. Dr. Curran is an exceptional scientist and academic leader whose work has been the driving force for this chair.”

Curran is an internationally recognized thought leader in implementation science, which is the study of how best to support adoption of evidence-based practices. His highly cited work on research design and methods has significantly influenced the field.

For the last eight years, Curran has directed the Center for Implementation Research, which is devoted to developing, testing and applying implementation strategies, as well as training the next generation of implementation scientists. In this role, he mentors a large number of junior investigators at UAMS and other academic institutions. He has mentored 26 faculty members at UAMS and 18 scholars at other institutions to receive funding in implementation science. In recognition of his success as a mentor, he recently received the 2022 UAMS Research Legend Faculty Mentoring Excellence Award.

Curran thanking people

Curran thanked many people who have helped him in his personal and professional life.Evan Lewis

“Geoff was way ahead of the curve in bringing us all along in his wake,” said John Fortney, Ph.D., director of the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Division of Population Health, and professor in its Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “He literally became the voice of the first generation of implementation researchers. I’ve relished watching him spiral in success and become an international implementation expert, all the while maintaining a steadfast commitment to UAMS. This is a big deal — a once-in-a-lifetime really big deal — and I think everyone in the room will agree with me that there is no one more deserving.”

Rachel Stafford, Pharm.D., associate professor and vice chair in the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice, spoke about the influence that Curran had on her career as implementation science in pharmacy practice was getting off the ground.

“This chair is at the perfect time to take advantage of the current climate for change and to bring forward broad, sustainable and pragmatic practice transformation,” said Stafford. “Geoff, I am so honored I get to work with you. I appreciate your passion, down-to-earthness and practicality that you bring to your work, and I am excited about the future.”

In addition to the honor of being named chair holder, Curran received a commemorative medallion and an inscribed wooden chair. He thanked many people, including mentors, College of Pharmacy and UAMS leadership, faculty and staff, as well as his family.

“I don’t so much study which medical treatments work or why, but how best to help the ones that we know work to be used to their fullest,” said Curran. “Our mission is to leverage the trust and relationships that people have with their community pharmacists and figure out how best to implement a wide range of health interventions.”

Curran received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1987. He received his Master of Arts in sociology in 1991 and his doctorate in medical sociology in 1996, both from Rutgers University. He received successive one-year postdoctoral fellowships from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and the Department of Psychiatry at UAMS and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. He began his tenure-track faculty appointment at UAMS in 1999, receiving promotions to associate professor with tenure in 2005, and professor in 2012.

Curran is a health services researcher who focuses on the diffusion of innovation in health care settings. He has received more than 20 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Department of Defense and various foundations. An author of more than 140 publications, he has received more than $12 million for research as a principal investigator and over $35 million as a co-investigator.

Curran has given more than 40 invited talks nationally and internationally in the past six years. In the past eight years, he has led efforts to introduce and promote implementation science within pharmacy practice and research, both in the U.S. and internationally. He co-edited the first “special issue” on implementation science in a pharmacy journal and co-authored leading manuscripts describing implementation science and its specific approaches for pharmacy practice. As co-principal investigator, Curran recently obtained extramural funding to initiate an implementation research network among more than 100 rural pharmacies in five southern states, the only such network in the country.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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