Search Results for: graduate school

Five Oxford High School Graduates Receive UM’s Highest Academic Award

OXFORD, Miss. – Five Oxford residents are among 59 University of Mississippi students to receive a 2013 Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic award. The outstanding students were recognized recently during the 70th annual Honors Convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

They are seniors Jacqueline Grace Boyce, Samuel Liyang Di, Laura Jansen, Elyse Cosette Jensen and Alexandria Nicole Tidwell. Boyce, Jensen and Tidwell are slated for graduation May 11. Di and Jansen are scheduled to complete their degrees in May 2014.

Boyce is a senior international studies and German major in the College of Liberal Arts. She is a member of UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Croft Institute for International Studies. Her other honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa, UM’s highest academic honor in the liberal arts. She is a Croft Scholar and recipient of the Milden Language Award.

Di is a senior electrical engineering major in the School of Engineering. A member of the Honors College, he received the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Junior Engineer Award.

Jansen received the Taylor Medal as a senior hospitality management major in the School of Applied Sciences. She is also majoring in art in the College of Liberal Arts. Her other honors include listing on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll and receiving the Student Art Association Award.

Jensen is a senior physics major in the pre-med curriculum. A member of the Honors College, she is listed on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. Her other honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa and in Phi Kappa Phi, UM’s highest academic honor across all disciplines. She is a certified veterinary assistant.

Tidwell is a senior English major in the College of Liberal Arts. Her other honors include the W. Alton Bryant Award and AAUW Sarah Robinson Scholarship.

Taylor Medals recognize no more than 0.45 percent of undergraduates for meritorious scholarship and deportment. Recipients of the award must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average. The award was established at Ole Miss in 1904 by Dr. William A. Taylor of Booneville in memory of his son, an honored 1871 alumnus of the university.

UM Education Graduate Student Helps Rebuild Smithville School Library One Book at a Time

Application completed for class project lands $15,000 grant

Kerry Baker, librarian at Smithville High School, and school principal Chad "Coach" O'Brian show off the oversize check from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. UM photo by Jerra Scott.

OXFORD, Miss. – After an EF-5 tornado demolished the town of Smithville in April 2011, many citizens did not know where to begin to rebuild what was left of the lives they once knew.

For Kerry Baker, librarian at Smithville High School and an online graduate student at the University of Mississippi, one step toward recovery was landing a Beyond Words: Dollar General School Library Relief Fund grant worth $15,000 for the school where she has taught for 24 years.

“I was able to pursue the grant as part of my literacy classes,” explained Baker, who is earning a master’s degree in literacy education from UM. “The tornado wiped out the school. Right now, we’re on a temporary campus until August of 2013.”

The relief fund was created by Dollar General to help libraries recovering from major disasters. This grant will help provide replacement items, including books, media and equipment, that were destroyed by the violent storm that left the school unusable. In the library, the tornado did significant damage, shifting the roof and destroying literacy materials, including more than 800 books.Read the story …

Business School Doctoral Candidate Honored as Top Graduate Instructor


Laura Williams

Miss. – The accolades for Laura Williams resemble that of a Hollywood
blockbuster. “Engaging.” “Inspirational.” “Brilliant.”

graduate instructor in the University of Mississippi School of Business
Administration, Williams reaps such acclaim from her students, and the
praises haven’t gone unnoticed. She was recently honored with the
university’s 2008-09 Graduate Instructor/Teaching Assistant Award.

Williams truly is a remarkable teacher worthy of this prestigious
honor,” said Joi Todd, a sophomore business major from Jackson. “I
nominated her for the award because of the kindness, patience and
excellence exhibited both in her teaching style and personal conduct.”

Williams exemplifies amazing qualities,” said Katherine Sneed, a junior
accounting major from Jackson. “Within the first class, she knew each
and every one of our names. I’ve never had a teacher so eager to know
all of their students.”

A doctoral degree candidate in
organizational behavior in the UM business school, Williams said she
was thankful to receive the honor, sometimes called the Apple Award,
from UM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The award
includes a $1,000 prize.

Read the story …

Spring Ole Miss Graduate Coaches Surprise Winner of State’s High School Latin Exam

The poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta community of Hollandale might seem like an unlikely place to find a rising Latin program, but it is home to this year’s winner of the Magnolia State’s high school Latin examination.

Led by Mississippi Teacher Corps participant Austin Walker, an English teacher who graduates Saturday with a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi, students at Simmons High School studied Latin this academic year for the first time in school history. The work paid off as Alexis Hicks, a 15-year-old sophomore, outscored students from established programs to take first place on the statewide high school Latin exam.

School of Pharmacy Graduates Post 100 Percent Pass Rate on Licensure Exam

OXFORD, Miss. – This year’s Doctor of Pharmacy graduates at
the University of Mississippi have posted a 100 percent
pass rate on their first attempt at the North American
Pharmacist Licensure Examination.


Read the story …

School of Pharmacy Expands Residency Programs

Residencies offer recent graduates experience in practice settings

Austin Crocker, a Post-Graduate Year 1 Community Pharmacy Resident at UM, administers a blood pressure screening at Tyson Drugs in Holly Springs. UM photo by Lauren Bloodworth

JACKSON, Miss. – For recent pharmacy graduates looking to continue their education, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has expanded its residency program to five positions, with three focused in community pharmacy and two in ambulatory, or outpatient, care.

The expansion is partly due to an increased demand for residency opportunities. In 2017, 69 percent of the 6,027 pharmacy graduates nationwide who applied were accepted to a residency program, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Several professional organizations advocate for all pharmacists in direct patient care settings to receive residency training as a prerequisite for entering the pharmacy workforce by 2020, said Seena Haines, chair of the UM Department of Pharmacy Practice who oversees the school’s residency programs..

“Our residency programs develop highly qualified and independent practitioners who are able to provide patient-centered care in a variety of health care settings with a high level of maturity and leadership to conduct practice-related projects,” Haines said.

The school offered its first residency program in 2009, a Post-Graduate Year 1 Community Pharmacy Residency Program on the pharmacy school’s Jackson campus under the direction of Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs. Over the next eight years, the pharmacy school expanded the programs and graduated 15 residents with the help of local pharmacies and outpatient clinics.

The most recent addition is a Post-Graduate Year 1 Community Pharmacy Residency Program at Tyson Drugs in Holly Springs. Tyson Drugs’ owner, Bob Lomenick, pioneered a medication synchronization program that the school wanted pharmacy graduates to experience.

This year’s resident at Tyson Drugs is Austin Crocker, a 2017 Pharm.D. graduate of Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy and a native of Madison. Crocker and Lomenick recently began providing community organizations with information about the opioid abuse crisis and overdose reversal agent training.

“Community pharmacy continues to expand beyond the traditional dispensing role,” Crocker said. “As the resident, my goal is to help develop and implement new services offered at the pharmacy and in prescriber offices. 

“There are countless opportunities for pharmacy to expand in Mississippi, and that was a major draw to this residency program.”

Lomenick has been energized by the collaboration and the impact it’s having in his practice.

“I didn’t know what a residency program was, and it was out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to try,” Lomenick said. “Now that I’m a part of it, I realize that training residents aligns with the direction where community pharmacy practice is headed.

“I can honestly say it has carried my practice to a new level, and I see it continuing to grow.”

Stephanie Ostling

Stephanie Ostling, a Pharm.D. graduate from the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, practices in several different half-day clinics as one of two PGY-2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy residents in the Ole Miss program. Ostling also teaches and precepts at the school as part of the residency, along with other PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents.

“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pursue a PGY-2, but when I learned about the opportunities this residency offered, I reconsidered,” Ostling said. “My goals for this year are to develop my role as an educator and preceptor, while also strengthening my clinical practice.

“In addition, serving in clinics aligns with my long-standing interest in population health.”

The school continues to seek new ways to train well-qualified residents, bringing together Mississippi-based programs to discuss ways of advancing clinical practice. As a result of these discussions, the school developed a formal program for training preceptors – the pharmacists who train residents – as well as a Teaching and Learning Certificate Program for its residents.

The program is rigorous, with each resident designing, developing and implementing instructional activities throughout the curriculum, said Stuart Haines, professor of pharmacy practice and the certificate program’s coordinator. He hopes to expand the program.

“Many residents want to learn more about being an effective educator, which is why we introduced the Teaching and Learning Certificate,” Haines said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how engaged the residents and faculty mentors have been this year.”

To support the goal of expanding residents’ academic training, some of the school’s faculty serve as program directors, site coordinators and preceptors for the residency programs, which include programs at UMMC, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Dominic’s Health System and Baptist Memorial Hospital.

The benefits of residency training are numerous, said Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and director of the school’s ambulatory care residency program.

“With the pharmacy profession’s increased focus on patient care, the training the School of Pharmacy offers will help pharmacists enhance those skills and put them into practice,” Fleming said. “Whether a resident is preparing for a career in community pharmacy, academia or any other pharmacy setting, a residency offers invaluable, hands-on experience that will give them a deeper understanding of their practice.”

Archaeology Field School Led by UM Professor Gets National Attention

Carter Robinson mound site also to be featured this fall in American Archaeology magazine

UM undergraduate student Ben Davis, American University graduate student Erin Cagney and UM undergrads Conor Foxworth and Emily Warner excavate the burned wall of structure that dates back to the 1300s at the Carter Robinson site in Virginia. Photo by J.C. Burns

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students participated this summer in a four-week field school excavating the remains of a Native American house at the Carter Robinson Mound site in Ewing, Virginia.

The field school, led by Maureen Meyers, assistant professor of anthropology, returned to a house on the site that was partially excavated in 2007 and 2008.

“We knew from the past work that there were three houses built on top of one another in this location, which is unlike any of the other houses at the site,” Meyers said. “This year, we uncovered about half of the second house.

“To my surprise, we found burned walls and logs in really good preservation. We uncovered these walls, mapped and photographed them, and excavated posts from this house and the house above it.”

The site also will be featured in American Archaeology magazine later this fall.

Archaeologists first identified the site, which is privately owned by the Robinson family, in 1962. Meyers began excavations there in 2006 and held field schools at the site five times over the last decade.

Meyers has identified and partially excavated remains of six houses at the site. To date, more than 90,000 artifacts have been recovered from excavation, including ceramics, lithics, animal bones, botanical remains, building material from burned walls and other smaller items, such as shell beads.

This year, the group recovered ceramic sherds, mostly deer bones, drills, projectile points and flakes from making stone tools.

A collection of drilled items and drills were found at the Carter Robinson site. Submitted photo

“This site is unique because it is located at the edge of the Mississippian cultural world,” she said. “The Mississippian culture and time period is recognized by archaeologists as a time when Native Americans were organized into hierarchical societies known as chiefdoms.

“Their sites generally consist of villages with an earthen mound, a plaza and a village of square houses surrounding the mound and plaza.”

The Mississippian cultural time period, from A.D. 900 to 1550, is located predominately in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, western North Carolina and southern Kentucky. The Carter Robinson site is one of two Mississippian mounds in southwest Virginia.

“It’s an important site for understanding interaction at cultural frontiers, for understanding craft production in prehistoric societies and understanding the role of craft production and frontiers in the formation of inequality in societies,” Meyers said.

Work at the site has been funded by a UM College of Liberal Arts Summer Research Grant, a National Geographic Society Exploration and Research Grant, a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid, a Virginia Academy of Sciences Research grant and a University of Kentucky Dissertation Enhancement Award..

Meyers has published multiple book chapters and articles about the site, including the most recent issue of Southeastern Archaeology. She has trained more than 50 students at the sites over the years through field schools, and three Ole Miss students are working on master’s theses using data from the site.

Dalton Capps, a graduate student in anthropology from Columbus, is building his thesis based on lithic tool productions from the site.

“I am looking at how the different structures that have been excavated at Carter Robinson differ when it comes to lithic production,” Capps said.

He also participated in the field school as an Ole Miss undergraduate student in 2015.

“I have always loved going out into the field, so I jump at any opportunity I get to go out into the field,” he said. “It was nice to be able to concentrate on one house in such detail for an entire field season.

“The most interesting finds for me were the large amount of shell and the few drills that we found. In 2015, we found some very interesting ceramics, including what may have been part of a human effigy.”

Capps also will analyze the finds from this site from previous excavations years in which Meyers has brought students to the field school.

Dedication of New Medical School Bodes Well for Health Care’s Future

Building will allow UMMC to increase class sizes, help fill state's need for new doctors

Johnny Lippincott, a fourth-year student in the UM School of Medicine, addresses a
crowd of dignitaries, students and faculty during dedication ceremonies for the new medical school.

JACKSON, Miss. – Elected officials and other dignitaries attending Friday’s (Aug. 4) dedication of the University of Mississippi’s new, $74 million School of Medicine building celebrated a new era in medical education and health care for the state.

The breadth of the 151,000-square-foot facility on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus means more space for students, more students for each class and, consequently, more doctors for Mississippi.

“This remarkable building will be filled with students endowed with the seeds of greatness,” said Gov. Phil Bryant, who addressed a gathering of an estimated 200 officials, students, faculty members and other guests in the ground-level entrance lobby, before the formal ribbon-cutting.

The facility presents these students with “the greatest opportunity for success,” Bryant said.

Featuring the institution’s familiar, yellow-brick facade, the building’s five stories offer its students something they haven’t had for many years: a single, purpose-built facility, a home of their own.

Dr. Ford Dye, a member of the board of the State Institutions of Higher Learning, said, that as a graduate of the medical school in the 1990s, “I look around at this building and I realize my timing was bad.”

The medical students’ new home replaces a disjointed collection of accommodations and services, including classrooms, labs, lecture halls and training centers – a dispersal resulting from six decades of expansion.

“A glorious chapter is beginning in the history of education in Mississippi,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“History is all around us and is part of this day. It reminds me that we are doing something important. … Something that future stories will be made of.”

The new School of Medicine stands five floors high and has square footage of about 151,000 feet.

For many of those who worked for and supported the construction of the building, this is part of the story that resonates the most: The dimensions allow for a boost in the size of each entering class, and larger classes mean more physicians will be trained each year in Mississippi, a fact noted by Jeffrey Vitter, UM chancellor.

Adding physicians to the state’s workforce, he said today, will “improve access to quality health care for the citizens of Mississippi.”

Mississippi ranks last, at roughly 185 doctors per 100,000 residents, as reported in 2015 by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The only other medical school in the state is at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, which opened in fall 2009 and awards the Doctor of Osteopathy degree, while the university’s offers the Doctor of Medicine, or M.D.

The hope is that many of the school’s graduates will stay in the state, which U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper encouraged them to do in his address: “I say this to the medical students, ‘There’s no place like Mississippi. … There’s no place better.'”

With the new school building, plans are to expand entering class sizes from around 145 students to 155, and to eventually top off at approximately 165 – the total considered necessary to meet the state’s goal of 1,000 additional physicians by 2025.

“This is a project that had unanimous support in the Mississippi Legislature,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “Everyone in the Legislature recognized the need.”

Located on the north side of the campus, between the Student Union and the Learning Resource Center, the site is the educational core of the Medical Center. The building’s neighbors include the schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy and the Health Related Professions, along with the emerging School of Population Health housed in the new Translational Research Center.

The two other schools represented on campus are nursing and graduate studies in the health sciences.

Financing of the new medical school included state funds and a $10 million Community Development Block Grant awarded through the Mississippi Development Authority and administered through the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District for site and infrastructure work.

Construction was the job of general contractor Roy Anderson Corp., headquartered in Gulfport. Two architectural firms worked in tandem: Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons Architects and Engineers P.A. in Jackson, and Eley Guild Hardy Architects P.A., which has offices in Jackson and Biloxi and designed the Robert C. Khayat Law Center in Oxford.

In Jackson, the task was to build and design the replacement for a school housed in the original Medical Center complex, which opened in July 1955 and, at 490,000 square feet, was considered one of the biggest, and most modern, buildings, in the state.

Over the years, demands for space grew, and, as the Medical Center spread out, the medical school splintered into a network of disconnected sites, including some makeshift offices and labs.

 On top of that, by the early 2000s, the AAMC had predicted a nationwide doctor shortage and asked medical schools across the country to pump up class sizes by about 30 percent. Accreditation standards were also changing, and in order to meet them, the School of Medicine would need more room, an increase and upgrade in simulation facilities, additional classrooms that accommodate interactive group learning, and more.

It was clear to Medical Center officials that a new, state-of-the-art facility was more likely to meet the future needs of medical students. A succession of vice chancellors, including Woodward, guided the venture, starting with Dr. Dan Jones and Dr. James Keeton.

Promoted by administrators as a potential economic development boon, the project gained the support of lawmakers and Bryant, who was lieutenant governor at the time.

After years of planning, UMMC officials staged a ceremonial groundbreaking Jan. 7, 2013 in the parking lot that has been transformed into a new medical school.

“Who would think you would have an emotion about a building?” said Keeton, a 1965 medical school alumnus who retired with emeritus status this year. One of those emotions is “joy,” he said today.

As for the new crop of medical students arriving next week, he said, recalling his own first days as a first-year medical student, “Let me tell you what their emotion is right now: fear.”

Students were among the members of a steering committee that brought back ideas from other medical schools when this one was being planned. For instance, the twin amphitheaters, which function as lecture halls, are modeled after Emory University’s and offer advanced AV equipment, integrated sound systems and sound-dampening features.

Overall, in the words of architect Rob Farr, the design is “student-focused.” The building’s southern face overlooks a courtyard and brings in natural light to student work and study areas.

The second level is organized for “student movement,” while the upper floors are focused on teaching stations and support areas that frame a space-organizing central atrium.

Some architectural details are homages to tradition, as well as to the medical profession: Certain areas are appointed with glass etched with rolling lines simulating an EKG; on the floor of the lobby where the dedication was held is a representation of the great seal of the university: a human eye surrounded by the sun; a wall of the student lounge is decorated with medical terms.

The cutting-edge simulation training area has a dedicated floor and was made possible in great part by nearly $5 million in grants from the Hearin Foundation. It is equipped with a mock operating theater – funded by the UMMC Alliance and the Manning Family Foundation – virtual reality spaces with high-fidelity task trainers, a clinical skills center, flexible-use spaces and more.

“Over the course of the next 50 years, we’re going to deliberately wear it out,” said Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams, professor of emergency medicine and vice dean for medical education, referring to the building as a whole.

Fourth-year medical student Johnny Lippincott, president of the class of 2018, said he’s particularly proud of the way the building’s technological components are designed to be able to adapt to future updates.

In his remarks today, he also praised the facility’s spaciousness and homage to “natural light.”

Ultimately, though, he said, “This is all about what we do for our future patients.”

The upshot, from the ground up:

Ground floor: Office space, student lounge, cafe, storage lockers

First floor: Classrooms, group studies, twin amphitheaters, Legacy Wall (bearing the names of donors and relating the history of UMMC)

Second floor: Classrooms and group studies (mostly repeats first-floor layout)

Third floor: Basic and Advanced Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training Center, wet and dry labs, training and group study rooms, expandable conference rooms

Fourth floor: Office of Interprofessional Simulation Training Assessment Research and Safety, exam and simulation rooms, Standardized Patient training (with actors who portray patients)

The public is invited to explore the building, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday during an open house with self-guided tours and hosts on each floor.

UM Accountancy School Joins Expanded KPMG Master of Accounting Program

Initiative provides full tuition and job offers for students

The KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program will offer students in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy access to full scholarships, specialized training and job offers upon graduation. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

NEW YORK and OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy is joining the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program, a one-of-a-kind initiative that audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP developed to prepare accounting students for the digital marketplace.

The expansion of the program increases the number of participating schools from two to nine, and increases the number of students from 51 to 135 who will receive full tuition, other support, and KPMG job offers upon graduation. The expansion also includes a tax component at one of the new schools in the program.

The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy and KPMG have enjoyed a tremendous partnership for many years,” said Mark Wilder, dean and KPMG Chair of Accountancy at UM. “We are proud to be offering master’s degrees in taxation and data analytics, as well as in accounting and data analytics. It is a high privilege to work with KPMG to provide innovative graduate programs to help develop future professionals for the data age.”

“KPMG’s expanded investment in the data and analytics program demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the future of the audit and tax professions,” said Frank Casal, KPMG’s U.S. Vice Chair – Audit. “We’re pleased to include prestigious institutions like the University of Mississippi, who share this focus and are equally passionate about their students building advanced skills in accounting, tax and data analytics that they can bring into the marketplace.”

Ole Miss also will integrate the program into its Master of Taxation degree.

“KPMG’s experience demonstrates that harnessing and analyzing the data in a company’s tax filings can create value across an entire organization,” said Jeff LeSage, KPMG’s U.S. Vice Chair – Tax. “Empowering the next generation of tax leaders to unlock those insights aligns with KPMG’s commitment to innovation and helps assure that we’ll remain at the forefront of sharing those innovations with our clients.”

In August 2016, KPMG disrupted the education and recruiting experience for the audit profession by collaborating with the Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business and the Villanova School of Business to launch the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program. Fifty-one students were accepted to the program and will begin their studies at those two schools in the fall of 2017.

KPMG’s program provides each school with access to proprietary KPMG technologies and integrates easily into their academic programs. KPMG will increase the program’s scholarships to 135 students from across the U.S. Those students will work as interns on KPMG audit or tax teams and will join KPMG’s audit or tax practices through an advanced entry program upon graduation.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently awarded the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program its “2017 Recruiting Excellence Award,” which recognizes excellence in recruiting best practices, including attracting talent, selection process, training and development of new hires, and retention.

Those interested in learning more about the program, including how to apply, should visit A related video may be accessed at

Other schools joining the program include:

  • Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business
  • Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business
  • The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business
  • The University of Missouri’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business
  • The University of Southern California, Leventhal School of Accounting
  • Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business

Globally, KPMG International’s Ireland member firm launched a similar program in March with the National University Ireland Galway, and its South Africa member firm is piloting a program at the University of Witwatersrand. Several other KPMG member firms are also pursuing additional similar relationships in their respective countries.


KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (, is the independent U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s independent member firms have 189,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 152 countries.

About the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university and has a long history of producing leaders. The Patterson School of Accountancy is recognized as one of the top accounting programs nationally and produces graduates who hold leadership positions in business organizations nationally and internationally. One of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing universities, Ole Miss is known for its welcoming environment and is regularly ranked as one of America’s most beautiful and safest campuses. For more information, visit

Pharmacy School and Diabetes Patients Collaborate on Research

Researchers invite people with condition to contribute to ongoing project

Participants discuss issues important to them in treating and managing diabetes during the recent conference in Oxford. Photo by David Allen III

OXFORD, Miss. – Capping off nearly a year of discussions with people who have diabetes and diabetes stakeholders across the state, researchers from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy invited them all to a meeting in Oxford to generate diabetes research questions as part of a research initiative.

Researchers involved in the project, called “PaRTICIpate in Diabetes Self-Management Research Collaborative: A Conference Series,” invited people with diabetes to a series of meetings throughout northern Mississippi to ask how they manage their symptoms and to help them manage their condition. All participants were invited to the culminating meeting in late June.

“The synergy of having people from all these different communities talking to one another meant that they came up with totally new and novel ideas for diabetes care,” said Meagen Rosenthal, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration and co-lead investigator for the project.

The patients’ discussions also underscored ways in which different communities approach diabetes prevention and management. When a participant discovered that some health resources in her community were not available in another, she and others began brainstorming ways to share the resources.

At the end of the meeting, the researchers and graduate students assisting them had more than enough data and suggestions to begin narrowing down their list of research questions.

“Now that we have these questions, the next step is to figure out how we will keep the patients engaged,” said Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration and co-lead investigator. “We want their input on what is important to them and how we can potentially work together to move these solutions forward.”

Once the questions are finalized, the researchers will present their information to clinicians and stakeholders in several Mississippi communities in hopes of partnering to leverage the research into something greater. They also will ask patients to weigh in on which questions they are most eager to see answered.

“We want the patients to be involved, start to finish, as much as they want to be,” Rosenthal said.

As part of the researchers’ objective to ensure patients benefited from the experience, a dietician and a pharmacist attended the meeting to offer advice about how to manage diabetes symptoms, as well as to dispel myths about the disease.

“We wanted to make sure that we were not just taking from communities, but that we were giving back,” Rosenthal said. “What patients said they needed was more knowledge and more health resources.”

The feedback was tremendous, and patients are eager to remain engaged with the project, Holmes said.

“I think they feel like they learned a lot and they contributed a lot,” she said. “They played the most important role in this, and my impression is that they felt like they made a difference.”

This project was funded through a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award, No. 3335, from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.