Earl Morris, Pharm.D., M.P.H., a fourth-year graduate student in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, has been awarded a one-year fellowship from the American Heart Association, or AHA. The predoctoral fellowship award provides more than $32,000 in annual funding to support Morris’ research related to cardiovascular disease.
Morris will study the link between xanthine oxidase inhibitors, or XOIs, and heart disease. These drugs are often used by patients with gout to reduce disease symptoms, but their role in the development of heart disease remains poorly understood. Morris will use Medicare data and trajectory modeling tools to assess adherence issues with XOIs and study usage patterns among patients. His findings will help clinicians and researchers understand the link between XOIs and heart disease and target interventions to improve the way patients take these drugs.
“I am honored to receive this prestigious fellowship,” Morris said. “The AHA award will benefit my career by providing advanced training, enhancing my research productivity and developing my technical skills in a research area that explore the connections between rheumatological treatments and heart disease.”
Morris is mentored by Steven Smith, Pharm.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, and Wei-Hsuan “Jenny” Lo-Ciganic, Ph.D., M.S., M.S.Pharm., an associate professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy. After graduation, he wants to pursue a tenure-track academic faculty position and continue to research rheumatological treatments and heart disease.