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Stergachis Elected to Institute of Medicine

NWCPHP faculty member Andy Stergachis, PhD, RPh, was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in October 2012.
Stergachis Elected to Institute of Medicine

Andy Stergachis, PhD, RPh

NWCPHP faculty member Andy Stergachis, PhD, RPh, was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in October 2012.

November 15, 2012

Last month, NWCPHP faculty member Andy Stergachis, PhD, RPh, was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). “It really is an honor to be acknowledged in this manner,” Stergachis says. “The work of the IOM has considerable influence in a variety of disciplines, including public health.”

Stergachis first became connected with IOM activities in 1995 when he was asked to serve as a member of the IOM Committee to Study the Interactions of Drugs, Biologics, and Chemicals in Deployed US Military Forces. The Department of the Army had requested a review because US troops were being exposed to numerous drugs, vaccines, and chemicals during deployments. A recommendation in the final IOM report was to strengthen surveillance systems so that the potential for harmful drug interactions could be diminished. Stergachis later learned that this recommendation was followed by the Army.

Over the years, Stergachis has served on other IOM committees. Each time a committee forms, a rigorous process is followed. IOM committee members are vetted for potential bias and conflict of interest. To make sure that the work of a committee is “on target,” each committee initially reviews the charge with a high-level person from the agency or other organization that requested the study. Then there’s an interactive group process of collecting and examining evidence based on multiple sources, including both open and closed meetings. The report writing comes next. Once the report is finished, there’s a rigorous review process for the report itself.

Stergachis says that this process is intellectually stimulating and that he has found the interactions with committee members, staff, and those who present at committee meetings to be rewarding.

According to the IOM website, “Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.” New members are elected by active members and are chosen from diverse fields for their major contributions to advancing medical science, health care and public health.

Stergachis has many areas of expertise. As a NWCPHP faculty member, his primary focus is on emergency preparedness. But Stergachis also directs the UW’s Global Medicines Program and is affiliated with the UW Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program.

When asked if his multi-faceted career interests played a role in his service to IOM, Stergachis said, “It is likely that my work in public health and pharmacy made me a good fit for service on IOM committees. I hope to continue to bridge these disciplines.”

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