Pharmacy Students, Ferris Faculty Collaborate to Optimize Spectrum Health Research, COVID-19 Response

Ferris State University
PHOTO CAPTIONS: Ferris State University College of Pharmacy Professor Kim Hancock (above, right) and Thomas Dowling (pictured below), director of Ferris' Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, are among over a dozen supporters, who review materials placed in Spectrum Health Research's growing base of published studies and reports related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


To help put the best COVID-19 information before doctors, and other health care professionals in the Spectrum Health integrated health system, a group of Ferris State University faculty and fourth-year Pharmacy students are involved in a review of research reports and studies.

College of Pharmacy Professor Kim Hancock and Thomas Dowling, director of Ferris’ Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, are among the Ferris collaborators who join with peers at Ferris State Universitythe Van Andel Institute, Michigan State University, Henry Ford Health System, and the Spectrum research office to assess more than 3,500 articles detailing research on the virus at the heart of this pandemic.

“The goal is to help prioritize and sort the information that will best benefit physicians and care givers, so they can review those details and apply them, as necessary,” Dowling said. “That means placing each article through an algorithm and scoring system, to create a rubric that leads to the most effective response for patients.”

The research consortium has already addressed more than 2,000 publications. However, Dowling said that it is difficult to presume an end date for their efforts. Project updates can be found online.

“After an assignment is completed, a new article is sent to the reviewer,” Dowling said. “We are going over those reports and studies to help meet the demand, but there are literally dozens of papers related to COVID-19 arriving for review each day.”

The Ferris contingent involved in the collaboration includes faculty from the colleges of Health Professions and Pharmacy. Dowling said there are nearly a dozen fourth-year Pharmacy students who are contributing to this effort.

“These students are stepping up to serve as health care professionals at a most crucial time,” Dowling said. “They are completing clinical rotations, preparing for their graduations and providing benefit from their learning in support of an important and urgent cause. We are glad to have their efforts in this significant and life-saving opportunity.”

This review effort is one facet of the Ferris’ COVID-19 Community Response Team’s contributions to solutions and safeguards related to the pandemic.