University of Illinois, Chicago: News

  • 12/13/2012samhos@uic.edu (Sam Hostettler) writer samhos@uic.edu (Sam Hostettler) by samhos@uic.edu (Sam Hostettler) published by samhos@uic.edu (Sam Hostettler)
    Patients who fail to follow their prescribed treatments cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $100 billion annually. But community pharmacists and insurance benefit managers, working together, can help patients comply with vital pharmaceutical therapies, according to a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy.

    “Medications are essential in treating diseases, preventing hospitalizations, and improving quality of life, but patients often under-utilize them,” says Daniel Touchette, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at UIC and lead researcher on the study. The cost, number of medications, length and complexity of treatment regimens -- and difficulty remembering -- are just some of the factors that contribute to patients' "non-adherence," or taking their drugs improperly, he said.

    "Omission gaps," in which a patient who should be taking a drug is not taking it at all, are also common, Touchette said. Lapses in therapy have been shown to increase sickness and can be deadly, with even greater potential to cause harm than unwarranted prescribing, Touchette said.

    Touchette and Dr. Glen Stettin, senior vice president of clinical research at Express Scripts, Inc., one of the largest pharmacy benefit companies in the U.S., sought to determine whether community pharmacists could help patients adhere to their drug regimens and close any omission gaps.

    In a 90-day study at almost 100 community pharmacies in Illinois, nearly 2,500 patients with diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure or heart failure were followed. All were state employees enrolled in a state health insurance plan who had gaps in their therapy. They were encouraged to visit their pharmacist during the initial appointment, with follow-up either in-person or by telephone.

    Some pharmacists received case-based training focused on disease management and motivational communication, and then were notified by computer with alerts from the pharmacy benefits manager. Another group of pharmacists did not.

    The computer identified adherence and omission gaps daily, using a prescription-claim program developed by Express Scripts. The computer sent the pharmacies an alert whenever a gap in care occurred. Pharmacists addressed adherence gaps directly with the patient, while omission gaps were called to the attention of the patient’s primary care provider. Pharmacists used a web-based tool to record their patient interactions.

    Pharmacists who received computer alerts from the benefits manager had closed 55.5 percent of patient-care gaps within 30 days, compared to the 50.6 percent closed by the control group of pharmacists who did not receive the alerts. After 60 days, the difference between the two pharmacist groups had narrowed to 66.1 percent versus 65.2 percent, respectively.

    “Collaborating with community pharmacists and providing necessary information to drive adherence and reduce omissions of essential therapies helps to improve health outcomes for patients,” Stettin said. “We’re excited by the results of this effort and hope to continue to refine and improve the program for even greater success.”

    “Pharmacists are in an optimal position to address therapeutic gaps in care,” said Touchette. “Community pharmacists are knowledgeable about potential barriers and solutions to adherence issues. They have frequent contact with their patients, know them well, and when needed, reach out to physicians on their behalf. They are also widely considered a trusted source for providing information to patients and practitioners about medication therapies.”

    The study is published in the American Journal of Managed Care and was funded by Express Scripts. Other authors are UIC graduate students Sapna Rao and Weihan Zhao; Purna Dhru and Inderpal Bhandari of Express Scripts; and the late Young-Ku Choi, who was a biostatistician at UIC's Institute for Health Research and Policy.

    UIC ranks among the nation's leading research universities and is Chicago's largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.
  • 12/6/2012maureen_meehan@jtpr.com (Maureen Meehan) writer maureen_meehan@jtpr.com (Maureen Meehan) by maureen_meehan@jtpr.com (Maureen Meehan) published by maureen_meehan@jtpr.com (Maureen Meehan)
    --U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Discusses Transportation Funding--

    Top federal, state and municipal officials, alongside private-sector and community leaders, gather today for the 2012 Urban Forum at the University of Illinois at Chicago to discuss the issues metropolitan areas have been experiencing during these tough economic times, their responses and strategies to address those challenges and improve quality of life.

    Entitled, "Metropolitan Resilience in a Time of Economic Turmoil," the 2012 UIC Urban Forum will foster dialogues on coping with economic challenges in the Chicago metropolitan region and the other urban regions of the nation, improving government cooperation, collaboration and efficiency, spurring economic growth and development, strengthening social safety nets, and addressing the cities' infrastructure and pension systems.

    "It is with great pride that UIC is once again hosting the Urban Forum and its esteemed participants," said Paula Allen-Meares, Chancellor of UIC. "UIC has a commitment to improving the quality of urban areas in Chicago, nationwide and around the globe, especially in these tough financial times, and we look forward to the collaborative and innovative ideas to come out of today's forum."

    Participants in the 2012 UIC Urban Forum range from federal government officials to local community leaders to academics and include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Illinois Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas, Chicago Deputy Mayor Steven Koch, Cook County Deputy Chief of Staff Neil Khare, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool, Chicago Community Trust President and CEO Terry Mazany, among many more civic, academic and policy experts.

    "With approximately 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas and producing approximately 85 percent of GDP, cities are the backbone of the nation's economic vitality," said Michael Pagano, Dean of the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and chair of the 2012 Urban Forum. "Cities have been challenged by the Great Recession unlike any time in the post-War era and today's forum calls on elected and community leaders to come together and share ideas for coping with and improving quality of life."

    The forum opens with remarks by Allen-Meares and Christopher Kennedy, Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, followed by two back-to-back sessions entitled, "Chicago's Metropolitan Resilience: Redefining the New Normal," and “Emerging from the Great Recession: How Cities Respond to and Thrive During Challenging Economic Times," featuring elected officials from across the country.

    Afternoon sessions focus on four white papers, each paper the topic of one of the panel sessions, and featuring the white paper author alongside a variety of civic, business and community leaders. Topics include: Interjurisdictional Competition and Inequities; Economic Development in Times of Growth and Scarcity; Social Safety Nets and Quality of Life; and Legacy Costs of Earlier Financial Decisions. To view the full white papers, visit: www.uicurbanforum.org/issues.

    LaHood closes the forum with a special address entitled, "A Conversation with Secretary Ray LaHood: MAP-21 and What's Next for Urban Transportation Funding." The discussion will be moderated by Steve Schlickman, executive director of UIC’s Urban Transportation Center and former executive director for the Regional Transportation Authority. LaHood and Schlickman will engage the audience for a dynamic discussion on the new MAP-21 legislation, the future of transportation funding and how it affects metropolitan vitality.

    "Strong cities are crucial to a successful American economy, and the Obama administration is absolutely committed to making sure they have the strong transportation networks they need in order to grow and thrive," said LaHood. "Over the last four years, we've repaired streets and bridges, modernized and expanded transit systems, and improved passenger rail to move people more quickly and affordably from city to city. DOT will continue to work closely with all of our city and state partners to build on that momentum."

    UIC has hosted an annual Urban Forum since 1995, when the first forum convened under the auspices of the Great Cities Institute. Called the Winter Forum, it featured scholars, public intellectuals, policy makers and elected officials from the Chicago region and other parts of the country.

    Between 2005 and 2010, UIC, in partnership with the city of Chicago, hosted the Richard J. Daley Urban Forum, which was designed as a collaboration aimed at convening key public, private and non-profit leaders in an academic arena to discuss, analyze and propose pragmatic and innovative solutions to enhance the lives of city-dwellers around the globe.

    The UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs is the primary internal partner for the Urban Forum. The academic strengths of the college allow the Urban Forum to conduct policy-relevant research, examine possible policy approaches to improve the condition of urban regions, conduct public symposia, engage policy officials and academic experts, and provide training to the next generation of urban leaders.

    Sponsors for the 2012 UIC Urban Forum include: Abbott, Baxter, BMO Harris Bank, The Chicago Community Trust, ITW, The MacArthur Foundation, the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, UIC’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, Walgreens and WBEZ.

    For more information on the UIC Urban Forum, visit www.uicurbanforum.org. To follow the Forum on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/uicurbanforum and on Twitter @UIC_UrbanForum.
  • 12/5/2012burton@uic.edu (Bill Burton) writer burton@uic.edu (Bill Burton) by burton@uic.edu (Bill Burton) published by burton@uic.edu (Bill Burton)
    Two University of Illinois at Chicago faculty scholars have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS has announced.

    Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers for socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

    Deirdre McCloskey, distinguished professor of economics and liberal arts and sciences, was cited for her “outstanding contributions to world economic history and for provocative scholarship on the practice of economics, extending the field in humanistic and scientific ways.”

    Mrinalini (“Meena”) Rao, professor of physiology and biophysics at UIC and former U of I vice president for academic affairs, was honored for “distinguished contributions to the gastroenterological field, particularly to intestinal epithelial transport, and for leadership in academic affairs and diversity.”

    This year AAAS elected 702 fellows. They were announced last week in the journal Science and will be presented with a certificate and a gold-and-blue rosette pin in February during the AAAS annual meeting in Boston.

    Founded in 1848, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society, which includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science and serves 10 million individuals. The non-profit is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs and science education. AAAS is publisher of the journal Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world and an estimated total readership of 1 million.

    UIC ranks among the nation's leading research universities and is Chicago's largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

    [Photos of McCloskey and Rao are at http://newsphoto.lib.uic.edu/v/aaas/.]

    Additional media contact: Katharine Zambon, AAAS, (202) 326-6434, kzambon@aaas.org.
  • 12/4/2012jgala@uic.edu (Jeanne Galatzer-Levy) writer jgala@uic.edu (Jeanne Galatzer-Levy) by jgala@uic.edu (Jeanne Galatzer-Levy) published by jgala@uic.edu (Jeanne Galatzer-Levy)
    Bone strength is important to aging well, but doctors and therapists are far from understanding the best way to maintain healthy bone or what kind of exercise might help, according to University of Illinois at Chicago College of Applied Health Sciences researcher Karen Troy.

    The National Institutes of Health has awarded Troy a four-year, $1.6 million grant to investigate whether mechanical forces applied to bone can increase bone strength.

    Studies in animals show changes in bone structure following application of well-defined forces, says Troy, UIC assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition. The problem is how to apply strain to bone in people in ways that will result in growth and strength.

    "The principles from animal [studies] seem to carry over, but we don't know how exactly to implement them," Troy said. "The long-term goal is understanding how we can use physical-activity interventions to improve bone health, prevent fractures, and prevent or treat osteoporosis."

    Troy and her colleagues will recruit women who will apply force to the radius, one of the large bones of the forearm, by pressing the palm of their hand onto an apparatus that measures the force and speed of the pressure.

    Two studies will test how bone adapts to different forces. In one study, one group will apply light pressure and another group will apply heavier pressure to determine if there is a dose response in bone changes -- that is, if more pressure results in more growth. In a second study, subjects will apply pressure at high or low rates. The women will apply pressure three times a week for 12 months.

    Changes in bone will be determined by quantitative computed tomography, a three-dimensional X-ray technique that will reveal very fine changes in mineral density and structure.

    Participants will be followed for an additional 12 months to see how they retain bone changes.

    "We know that ordinarily people may not exercise consistently," Troy said.

    Troy hopes to obtain results that translate into "how many times I would have to do an exercise to get this much bone growth, on average, in a particular person over a particular time period," she said.

    "Our long-term goal is to be able to design a personalized physical activity intervention that would specifically target bone health."

    [Editors note: images available at http://newsphoto.lib.uic.edu/v/troy/]

    UIC ranks among the nation's leading research universities and is Chicago's largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.
  • 12/4/2012jboynes@uic.edu (Jeffron Boynés) writer jboynes@uic.edu (Jeffron Boynés) by jboynes@uic.edu (Jeffron Boynés) published by jboynes@uic.edu (Jeffron Boynés)
    J. Christopher Westland, professor of information and decision sciences in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration, has received the honorary position of Overseas Chair Professor at Beihang University. The award, funded by the Chinese government, honors top foreign academics who specialize in STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

    Westland will receive a stipend of up to $160,000 over three years, and a research budget of $700,000 to $900,000.

    He will conduct studies through Beihang University's Key Laboratory for Complex Decision Making and collaborate with colleagues at Key Laboratories in Harbin Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University.

    Westland is developing "affective information" technologies that enable machines to read and convey human emotions. His research focuses on comparing affective data with more traditional survey and interview information.

    "The ability to better read emotions, as well as to better convey them over electronic media, becomes a priority because of the central role of the state in (Chinese) television, cinema and Internet."

    Westland said he is "very keen" to develop low cost, portable means to collect affective data streams.

    "The cheaper and more portable the technology, the more it will be used," he said.

    Westland has been lecturing and collaborating with colleagues at many of the C9 League universities -- the top nine schools in China -- for the past three years. He is an expert in electronic commerce, innovation strategy, and technology and innovation management and has consulted for corporations including IBM and Motorola. His work has been published in top journals such as Information and Management, International Journal of E-Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and MIS Review.

    Beihang University (formerly Beijing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) is China's first university of aeronautical and astronautical engineering. The award was conferred under the Chinese government's Thousand Foreign Experts program, designed to attract scholars and entrepreneurs over the next 10 years to improve research and innovation.

    UIC ranks among the nation's leading research universities and is Chicago's largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.