The Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of the ODPRN was created with the goal of rapidly conducting policy-relevant research in Ontario, and communicates regularly with key policy-makers in the Ontario government to determine areas of high priority for drug research. The RRU is comprised of two teams: the Pharmacoepidemiology Program and the Project Management Team.
The RRU houses the Pharmacoepidemiology Program, which rapidly responds to research requests from the ministry of health and long-term care using the administrative claims databases housed at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). These linked databases include information on physician claims, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, geographic location, vital statistics on the entire population of Ontario, and drug utilization data on the elderly population and those receiving social assistance. The pharmacoepidemiology program:
- Explores novel methodologies in observational research,
- Conducts clinically relevant comparative effectiveness and drug safety research driven by members of the Core Academic Unit, and
- Refines the study design and data extraction processes to allow for increasingly rapid turnaround of research requests.
Comprised of a team of experienced epidemiologists, biostatisticians, analysts, project managers and clinicians, the pharmacoepidemiology program collaboratively and quickly responds to the needs of drug policy-makers in Ontario. Additionally, cross-provincial differences in policy decisions are facilitated through collaborations with members of the Core Academic Unit, Canadian Drug Safety and Effectiveness Research Network (CDSERN), the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS), and IMS Health Canada.
Project Management Team
A Project Management Team comprised of dedicated project managers and research administrators organizes, coordinates, and facilitates the work of the RRU as well as the other units of the ODPRN. The RRU serves as the hub of many of the ODPRN’s activities by acting as the central team responding to policy-maker requests.
Tara Gomes – Scientific Lead
Tara Gomes a scientist at ICES, with a degree in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. She is also the Scientific Lead of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) and an assistant professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Mina Tadrous – Research Associate
Mina’s research interests lie in drug policy research and the post-marketing surveillance of safety and effectiveness of medications used to treat chronic diseases. He completed a PhD in pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Toronto and previously completed a Masters in Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Tennessee, and a Doctor of Pharmacy at Albany College of Pharmacy. He also completed a pharmacy residency in Drug Information and health Outcomes at the University of Tennessee and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He is a practicing pharmacist who has worked in a variety of clinical settings. He is also currently a fellow at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).
Samantha is a Senior Research Project Manager with the ODPRN and is based out of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). She received her Bachelor of Science through York University. She is responsible for managing the ODPRN research portfolio.
Diana holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Epidemiology with Specialization in Biostatistics degree from Queen’s University, and previous to this completed an Honours Bachelor of Science (BScH) in Life Sciences and Mathematics and Statistics from Queen’s University. She currently works as a Senior Epidemiologist with the ODPRN and is based out of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), which gives her quick access to health and demographic claims databases used to conduct phamacoepidemiology studies. Diana’s areas of research includes real-world drug utilization, adherence and appropriateness of drug use as well as assessing the impact of policy interventions on utilization, cost and health outcomes.
Simon Greaves – Research Analyst
Simon is a MSc in Biostatistics graduate with an undergrad in Applied Mathematics. With ODPRN, he performs exploratory and statistical analysis of administrative and other health data, engaging actively with the project team to provide advice on analysis methodology, and statistical interpretation of findings.
Wayne is a research analyst based at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. He received his Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He is interested in using health administrative data to help answer various health and policy related questions.
Kristine Antony – Research Administration
Kristine is a co-op student at St. Michael’s Hospital and a candidate for a Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo. She is majoring in Biochemistry and specializing in Biotechnology.