PhD in Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research

Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research is a PhD program in the graduate program in Clinical Pharmacy. This program is housed in the Center for Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research (CePOR, SEE-por), a school-wide center in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Our doctoral curriculum is designed to provide competent and highly skilled researchers in the study of patient, provider, or population-level health care and health system interventions. We most often focus on economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes such as clinical or cost effectiveness or safety. Areas of focus available to students undertaking this course of study include pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, health services research, and drug policy.​​​

Core faculty are methodological experts and provide collaborative linkage to clinical experts in all pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and public health. Programs of study are tailored to student interests in disease or drug areas, such as cardiology, psychiatry, neurology, and cancer. Opportunities exist to link to more basic science colleagues depending on your topic of interests. For example, students interested in drug safety might link with toxicology faculty, or in gene-environment interactions might link with pharmacogenomics faculty.

Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research is a PhD program in the graduate program in Clinical Pharmacy. This program is housed in the Center for Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research (CePOR, SEE-por), a school-wide center in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Our doctoral curriculum is designed to provide competent and highly skilled researchers in the study of patient, provider, or population-level health care and health system interventions. We most often focus on economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes such as clinical or cost effectiveness or safety. Areas of focus available to students undertaking this course of study include pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, health services research, and drug policy.​​​


Applications for all doctoral programs are submitted electronically through the Graduate School of the University of Colorado Denver. After signing up for an account, select 'PhD' under the 'Academic Interests' menu and scroll down to 'Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences' and select "PhD in Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research."

Application requirements are:

  • A completed Graduate School application and $50.00 application fee (Domestic) $75.00 application fee (International)
  • A baccalaureate degree of arts or science from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0.** One (1) official transcript of all academic work completed to date with awarded baccalaureate degree. University transcripts from other countries must include a transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES). Applicants who complete a transcript evaluation with WES will have their application fee waived automatically.
  • All applicants for the program should complete a year of study in the following subjects: general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus, biology, English and physics. In addition, courses in the following subjects are highly recommended to supplement the student's background: physiology, biochemistry, statistics, cell biology, physical chemistry, and computer science.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation from professors or research supervisors familiar with your aptitude for graduate study


  • The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required but is optional.
  • The TOEFL is required of applicants for whom English is not their first language, Duolingo and IELTS also accepted (more information on this here)
  • Please use 4875 as the Institution Code so that the test results will be sent directly to our institution
  • Under special circumstances, deficiencies in important areas may be made up within the first year after entrance into the program. Normally, admission to the program will be based on an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. However, applicants' recommendations, research experience and additional individual accomplishments will also be considered in the admissions process.

Application opens September 1, 2023. Applications will not be reviewed until all required materials have been received. The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission is December 1, 2023 for all students.

Admission to the program may include financial support via a stipend awarded on a 12-month basis.

Although a priority of the School of Pharmacy is to provide financial support to its graduate students, payment of stipend, tuition and any fees by the School of Pharmacy or by grants, contracts or gifts to the School of Pharmacy faculty is contingent upon availability of funding, satisfactory academic progress (as defined by the UCD Graduate School, Graduate Student Handbook) and completion of required teaching duties, core courses, and examinations. The School of Pharmacy also reserves the right to review and adjust its funding policies at any time. All students are expected to work full-time toward program requirements for 12 months of the year.

Generally, the first year of financial support will be in the form of stipend support for working as a teaching assistant. Depending on availability, teaching assistantships may be offered beyond one year to students. Faculty may choose to offer research assistant scholarships to students as well. Other funding opportunities in the form of external student grants and awards also exist. Students are encouraged to talk to the faculty about funding and scholarship opportunities. Funds for travel to one meeting where students are presenting a poster or giving a podium presentation are limited to $500 per fiscal year.

Students who do not remain in good graduate standing (3.0 GPA or above) or maintain satisfactory academic progress are placed on academic probation. Probation and suspension policies are described in the UCD Graduate School, Graduate Student Handbook. Payment of stipend, tuition, insurance and fees for a student while on academic probation is at the discretion of the graduate program committee.​​


Advance the science of pharmaceutical outcomes research by training scientists who generate and synthesize evidence to inform practice and policy.


The goal of the PhD n pharmaceutical outcomes research is to develop methodological experts. Graduates will have the knowledge and extensive skills necessary to conduct pharmacoeconomic, pharmacoepidemiologic, health services, and drug policy research. We train individuals who can contribute to T3-T4 clinical translational pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, specifically on effective, population health, and policy studies. These contributions should ultimately benefit pharmacists and society with safe, effective, and efficient use of pharmaceutical care.​​

The Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD program trains graduate students to become proficient and successful investigators who are able to:

  1. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of central concepts in Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research, including the areas of pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, and/or drug policy.
  2. critically appraise existing literature and sources of information.
  3. formulate hypotheses based on current concepts in the field and accurately and correctly design, conduct, and interpret their own research projects.
  4. present research results in peer-reviewed publications and in a dissertation.
  5. perform research that adheres to the principles and guidelines of ethical conduct.
  6. communicate research results effectively through oral presentations at scientific seminars, conferences, and other venues
You can learn more about requirements and expectations of the Pharmaceutical Outcome Research PhD program in the PhD Program Handbook. Required and elective courses are listed below.
Required Courses
BIOS 6611/6612​Biostatistical Methods I and Biostatistical Methods II
EPID 6630Epidemiology
PHSC 7620Research Design and Methodology in Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research
HSMP 6604Health Care Economics
EPID 6631Analytical Epidemiology
PHSC 7611Pharmacoeconomics (Campbell)
PHSC 7613Pharmaceutical and Drug Related Policy (Nair)
PHSC 7615Pharmacoepidemiology (Valuck)
PHSC 7570Graduate Student Seminar
PHSC 7911Research Practicum
Total Required Core Course Credits for All Students
CLSC 8990Doctoral Thesis
Approved Elective Courses
BIOS 6643 Analysis of Longitudinal Data
BIOS 6646 Survival Analysis
BIOS 6648/6649 Design of Clinical Trials and Experiments (can take 6648 OR 6649)
BIOS 6649 Design of Studies in the Health Sciences
BIOS 6659 Statistical Methods in Genomics
BIOS 6680 SAS Programming for Data Analysis
BIOS 6683 Introduction to Health Information Technology
BIOS 7711-7713 Advanced Statistical Methods Courses
CBHS 6620 Survey Research
ECON 5813 Econometrics I (UCD downtown campus)
ECON 5823 Econometrics II (UCD downtown campus)
EPID 6632 Advanced Epidemiology
EPID 6646 Introduction to Systematic Reviews
EPID 6635 Epidemiology of Communicable Disease
EPID 6636 Chronic Disease Epidemiology
EPID 6638 Cardiovascular Epidemiology
EPID 6639 Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
HSMP 6603 Health Care Systems
HSMP 6609 Cost Benefit and Effectiveness in Health
HSMP 6617 Introduction to Health Services Research
HSMP 6625 Methods in Health Services Research

The program’s strengths in outcomes research are emphasized in 35 credits of several areas:

  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Economics
  • Health Policy
  • Research/Study Design
  • Doctoral Thesis

The program has experience in accessing a multitude of data such as MEPS, PHARMetrics, University Health-System, Consortium and MarketScan. Students are encouraged to utilize these datasets as well as primary data collection. Students may enroll in courses not listed (e.g courses in downtown campuses and/or newly developed courses) by consulting with the program director.


Heather Anderson PhD

Associate Professor Director, Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD Program, Director, Assessment

Robert Valuck PhD, RPh

Executive Director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, Professor


Kelly Anderson PhD, MPP

Assistant Professor; Director, Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD Program

Pharmaceutical and Drug Related Policy

Antal Zemplenyi

Antal Zemplényi

Antal Zemplényi, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Center for Health Technology Assessment at the University of Pécs and a senior researcher at the Syreon Research Institute, an international research corporation specializing in health policy, health economic modeling, and technology assessment. He has experience in value assessment, HTA, health economics and outcomes research, and real-world data analysis. He is the past president of the ISPOR Hungary Chapter. Antal is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences working as a visiting research associate in the Pharmaceutical Value (pValue) initiative.

Monica Bianchini

Monica Bianchini is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. She received a PharmD and MPH from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017. She subsequently completed a hospital pharmacy residency (PGY-1) and Infectious Diseases PGY-2 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Monica joined CePOR in 2019 and currently works as a clinical inpatient pharmacist. Her dissertation will evaluate opportunities to decrease syphilis rates and improve syphilis care in Colorado. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, live music, cooking, and anything outside (running, hiking, backpacking, skiing). 



Sue Kwon

Sue is a fifth year PhD student at CePOR. Her dissertation focuses on characterizing the burden of MS and treatment strategies using real-world claims data. Prior to grad school, she studied Neuroscience in Pomona College. In her free time, Sue enjoys taking her puppies on adventures.



Mahesh Maiyani

Mahesh Maiyani was born and raised in India. He earned his Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) from India in 2006 and then he came to the US to pursue his Master’s in Business administration. He completed his MBA from The University of Findlay in Ohio. He has work experience in clinical trials and heath care research. He joined the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD program in Fall-2021. His research interests are focused around cost effectiveness in real-world clinical settings. Mahesh enjoys hiking and spending time with family and friends.


Nick Mendola

Nick Mendola was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from The University of Akron with a BS in Exercise Science in 2016. He then moved to Washington D.C. to attend The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, where he obtained his MPH in Epidemiology, in 2018. During this time, he worked researching the impact of the pharmaceutical industry’s marketing to healthcare professionals, and its influence on prescribing practices and population level drug utilization. Nick joined the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research program in the fall of 2018. Nick’s current work with Dr. Robert Brett McQueen, explores the use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) as a novel health technology value assessment tool. His work specifically explores MCDA in evaluating treatments for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), a rare neurological disorder.


Vanessa Paul Patterson

Vanessa Paul Patterson

Vanessa Patterson is originally from Kansas City. She graduated from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine with an MPH concentrating in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health in 2012. Vanessa went on to work as an applied epidemiologist for government public health agencies for six years. She joined the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research program at CU in the fall of 2018. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Heather Anderson, Vanessa is currently a PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellow and a PhD candidate. Her dissertation focuses on the utilization of cardioprotective medications among women with a history of breast cancer. In her free time, Vanessa enjoys making pottery and spending time outdoors with family and friends.


Nai-Chia Chen

Nai-Chia (Sammi) Chen

Sammi is originally from Taiwan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Kaohsiung Medical University. After graduation, she had worked in pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organizations for several years before coming to the US. She completed her Master’s training at the University of Pittsburgh, Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy Research, in 2022. And then she joined Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD program at CU Anschutz in Fall 2022. Her research interest lies in the intersection of pharmacoeconomics, real-world evidence, and pharmaceutical outcomes. Outside the schoolwork, she enjoys cooking, baking, and snowboarding/skiing in winter.


mouna dardouri

Mouna Dardouri

Mouna was born and raised in Tunisia. She graduated with a PharmD from the University of Pharmacy of Monastir in 2016. She then worked for two years at a consulting company focusing on pharmaceuticals’ Pricing, Reimbursement and Market Access (PRMA) in Europe. After that, she was awarded with the Fulbright Foreign student scholarship and moved to Colorado, where she obtained her MPH in Global Health Systems, management, and Policy in 2022. Mouna joined the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research program in the fall of 2022. Her research interests include evaluating the use of Health Technology Assessment in the context of low- and middle- income countries and developing tools that permit equitable patients’ access to cost-effective technologies. In her free time, Mouna enjoys learning new languages, improv theatre and cooking. 


Why CU's Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD Program?

“One key reason I chose to join CePOR at CU was the tight-knit group of faculty and students. Given the program is smaller, the faculty has a better opportunity to stay in touch with all the students and provide support for everyone's research, regardless if they're on the student's committee or not. The student group is also very close as we are together for weekly seminars and enjoy out-of-school gatherings when possible. Another draw of CU's POR program is the diverse expertise of our faculty and alumni. Our current faculty have a range of expertise including: pharmacoepidemiology using big data sources, pharmacoeconomics and drug pricing, rare diseases, opioid use disorder and treatment, and Medicare payment models. Recent alumni have found work in a variety of different fields from consulting to academia to the pharmaceutical industry and the public health department. The wide range of backgrounds and areas of expertise covered by our faculty and alumni provide so many resources for mentorship and future career planning. Finally, there are so many unique opportunities within CePOR to work with different data sources (e.g. electronic health records, national claims data, Medicaid claims data) and different methodology experts, so I am confident that our program could be a great fit for prospective PhD students of all backgrounds.” – Monica Bianchini, PharmD, MPH

“CU's Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research Program produces robust interdisciplinary research that spans from pharmacoepidemiology to pharmaceutical economics with a variety of collaborators, such as Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).” – Sue Kwon, BA

“I joined the POR program because my previous research was focused on population drug utilization and the pharmaceutical industry’s impact on prescribing practices, and the POR program seemed like a natural fit for me to be able to keep learning about the areas of pharmacoepidemiology and drug related policy. What I like most about the program so far has been the core faculty in our program. They seem to truly care about student success and how we progress both academically and professionally. ” – Nick Mendola, MPH 

PhD Student Research Projects

  • Comparative Effectiveness of Rare Disease Therapies Using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis: Case Example in Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder, a Rare Neurological Disorder
  • Characterizing Real-world Burden of Multiple Sclerosis and Treatment Strategies in a Colorado-representative Population
  • Utilization of Cardioprotective Medication Strategies Among Women with a History of Breast Cancer
  • Opportunities to Improve Syphilis Care in Colorado

Mission: To educate, increase awareness and promote growth within the 'Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research' field in general and to increase the CU Denver presence among the international society ISPOR. To collaborate across different sciences on campus and different departments worldwide.

Description: Promote pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research education by holding regular seminars on current issues in the field and presenting research at least once a year at the annual meeting in the US-Canada region.

Membership requirements: We expect members to be passionate about the kind of research that is involved related to public health, epidemiology, pharmacoeconomics, and policy. Also, attending our regular educational seminars/webinars is highly encouraged.

Activities: Details will be emailed to members soon!

Benefits: The opportunity to present research, network and collaborate with faculty from different universities around the world, professionals from industry and research organizations at a global level.

Officers for 2020-2021
PresidentMonica Bianchini
Vice PresidentMahesh Maiyani

Julia Slejko, PhD ('12)
Associate Professor
Practice, Sciences, and Health Outcomes Research
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

R. Brett McQueen, PhD ('13)
Associate Professor
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

William Padula, PhD ('13)
Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical and Health Economics, School of Pharmacy
Fellow, Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics
University of Southern California

David Tabano, PhD ('18)
Principal Health Economist
Evidence for Access (E4A) | Public Affairs & Access
Genentech, Inc.

Katie Sullivan, PhD ('18)
Prescription Drug Epidemiologist
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Angela Czaja, MD, PhD ('19)
Associate Professor
Pediatrics-Critical Care Medicine
Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Chong Kim, PhD ('20)
Associate Director

Global Value & Access | HEOR
Gilead Sciences

Katia Hannah, PhD ('21)
Lead HEOR Specialist

Kimberly Deininger, PhD ('22)
HEOR Manager



For questions regarding graduate school programs contact:

Isabella Jaramillo
Phone: 303.724.7263


Kelly Anderson, PHD, MPP

Assistant Professor; Director, Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research PhD Program

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