Andrew Zullo, PhD candidate in Health Services Research, successfully defended his dissertation, titled "Use, Safety, and Effectiveness of Diabetes Medications in Older Nursing Home Residents."
Tell us about your time at Brown, what did you enjoy most about being a doctoral student here?
As a native Rhode Islander, I knew that Brown and its surrounding community had a long history of providing students with an excellent education. But, I had no idea just how rich that education would be! Faculty, staff, and fellow trainees were all continuously supportive and generous with their time throughout the entire PhD program. This support enabled me to take risks and pursue learning experiences that I may have otherwise foregone. The School of Public Health and Department of Health Services, Policy, and Practice excel at integrating people from diverse backgrounds into a cohesive whole that conducts world-class research. I am so thankful for the unique culture, community, and resources at Brown.
What public health issues do you hope to address through your dissertation?
Randomized controlled trials of drugs and other interventions often cannot enroll enough patients to permit precise inferences for many populations. Some examples include older nursing home residents and patients with chronic kidney disease. I hope to address these evidence gaps for important patient populations in the medical literature through the use of rigorous observational studies. My dissertation uses observational data to provide evidence about how diabetes treatments are used in older nursing home residents, and which treatments might be best to optimize outcomes that matter most to older adults. I hope that my dissertation can improve the quality of care for nursing home residents with diabetes by supporting evidence-based treatment decision-making. Some of the early, descriptive dissertation results can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (here) and Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (here).
What are your future plans now that you have finished your PhD?
Now that I am done with my PhD, I will be joining the faculty here at the Brown University School of Public Health as an assistant professor – see my answer to question number one. I love Brown! I am excited to continue my research on pharmacoepidemiology and comparative pharmaceutical effectiveness in the Department of Health Services, Policy, and Practice. I will also continue to practice as a clinical pharmacist, train pharmacy residents, and conduct research at Rhode Island Hospital.
(Distributed February 7, 2017)