Westrick Named Health Outcomes Research and Policy Department Head

Dr. Salisa Westrick photo on blue background Dr. Salisa Westrick, Department Head in Health Outcomes Research and Policy.

September 22, 2017

AUBURN, Alabama – Longtime Harrison School of Pharmacy faculty member Dr. Salisa Westrick has been named the department head and Sterling Professor for the Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy, Dean Richard Hansen announced Friday. Westrick has served as acting department head since Hansen, the previous department head, was named dean. She has been on faculty with HSOP since 2004.

The Sterling Professorship was established in 1997 by the Sterling Drug Company, Inc.

"Salisa has been an outstanding leader in pharmacy education and research and I am excited to see her demonstrate her leadership as the head of the department,” said Hansen.  “She understands the dynamics of the department, school, and university and is well positioned to take the department to new heights.”

A native of Thailand, Westrick earned her bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University in 1997. She went on to complete her master of science degree in training and development from the Department of Industrial technology at Illinois State University in 2000. In 2004, she completed her Ph.D. in social and administrative sciences in pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as the next department head,” said Westrick. “I am grateful for the trust the administrative team, faculty and staff both within and outside the department and our graduate students have placed in me and my abilities to serve in this capacity.

“Since I joined Harrison School of Pharmacy as a brand-new assistant professor in 2004, I have witnessed and been part of the department’s growth in many aspects such as research infrastructure, research activities and graduate student enrollment. I am excited to serve in this new capacity and play a critical role in sustaining excellence in all of our missions.”

Westrick’s research focuses on increasing access to care among Medicare patients, and adoption of patient care services in community pharmacies. Recent projects have included studies on improving adult vaccination rates as well as a Medicare outreach project that offers resources to patients when selecting their Part D coverage, a program that is now entering its fifth year. In the last three years, Westrick has brought in more than $500,000 in funding.

“In her research, she addresses community healthcare needs through innovative pharmacy-based interventions,” said Hansen. “This fits auburn perfectly, integrating research, education, and patient care in synergistic ways.”

HSOP’s Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy (HORP) seeks to improve medication-related outcomes, considering the perspective of patients, providers, and policymakers. This includes social and behavioral aspects of pharmacy, research to maximize medication-related outcomes, and comparative effectiveness and safety research. The overall goal of the department is to improve medication effectiveness through practice and population-based research.

The department includes eight faculty members, including two that are involved in Auburn University’s Cluster Hire Initiative. Additionally, students pursuing graduate degrees in pharmaceutical sciences at the Harrison School of Pharmacy can choose health outcomes research and policy as an academic option. Currently, there are 15 students pursuing that degree sequence.

“Family-oriented values are at the core to our department’s culture and we have a strong foundation of trust and commitment to unite as one unit,” said Westrick. “As the new department head, I will continue to foster this value as I believe it’s critical to our success as the unit.”

With the changing landscape of healthcare in the United States, Westrick also sees her department playing a critical role in the future of pharmacy practice.

“In recent years, healthcare has changed dramatically in terms of its structure, pay for performance reimbursement approaches, technological advancement and the expanded role of pharmacists as healthcare professionals,” said Westrick. “Because of these changes, it’s an exciting time for us to engage in cutting-edge research and provide research evidence to inform policy and practice.”

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About the Harrison School of Pharmacy
Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.

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Last Updated: September 22, 2017