TBRM’ BLENDS LIBERAL ARTS, SCIENCE
Bringing a new pharmaceutical to market costs $1 billion and takes 15 years, said Dr. Alice C. Ceacareanu.
“And 15 more years to make the best use of it,” said the new director of Hartwick College’s first master’s degree program, in TBRM, Translational Biomedical Research Management.
Its goal is to prepare professionals to short that 30-year delay considerably, she said in an interview Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The college had announced the day before that the state Education Department had approved Hartwick’s first master’s degree program in its 222-year history.
Ceacareanu, an oncology pharmacist by training and president of ROAKETIN, Inc., a consulting firm, was already on Oyaron Hill, and the announcement said she would start work immediately.
Between now and September, when the 2019-20 academic year begins, she will be assembling the faculty, some from the college’s science departments, but also from around the nation and, possibly, the world.
She will also be recruiting students from science disciplines who will join “a new workforce, not to be the innovators, but to be the first followers” in expediting the introduction of new drugs.
This is critical, she said in an interview, because the nation, with the huge Baby Boomer generation retiring by 2030, is facing historical “pandemics,” explosions in diabetes, heart disease and other afflictions suffered by an aging population.
The Hartwick master’s recipients – she hopes to recruit 10-15 for the first class; but fewer if the right characteristics can’t be found – will be connected via the Internet, and may be elsewhere, but will also be recruited from the college’s science, nursing and public health programs.
In addition to an understanding of science, the TBRM cadre will require the “interpersonal skills” to expedite approval of new pharmaceuticals through regulatory and marketing hurdles.
Big Pharma – companies like Pfizer – already have these kinds of people. Mid-size pharmaceutical companies contract with consultants to provide these skills. But the field is woefully under-served, Ceacareanu said, creating an opportunity for Hartwick and its prospective students.
In announcing the master’s program, Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich, said all colleges have the responsibility to explore opportunities.
“Every institution of higher education has the responsibility to assess, from time to time, how best to meet the needs of learners as they navigate emerging, expanding and maturing industries,” she said.
The new master’s will prepare enrollees “to make pivotal contributions to the growing biomedical and bio-pharmaceutical industry. This program will both launch and advance careers, providing new opportunities for professional success,” she said.
The TBRM program is cohort-style: groups of students will start and progress through the program together.
The two-year curriculum includes four semesters of traditional study, and experiential training via internships and clinical trials in the summer. Coursework will focus on epidemiology, biostatistics and informatics, and molecular genetics and personalized medicine.
Ceacareanu joins the college from Buffalo, where she has been a full-service healthcare consultant, as well as a part-time oncology pharmacist. Previously, she served as an assistant professor of pharmacy practice and adjunct professor of pharmaceutical sciences for the University of Buffalo.
For nine years, she served also as an oncology clinical pharmacist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
Ceacareanu earned a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Bucharest and a Pharm.D. from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center at Memphis.
Employment projections for TBRM-related positions are strong. According to Indeed.com, over 25,000 job openings required expertise in clinical outcomes management as of in January 2019. Pharmacovigilance competency was listed in 10,000+ job openings on Monster.com.
In New York State alone, there is a projected 15.8 percent growth in jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services in 2010-20, and 16.8 percent projected growth in the field in the Mohawk Valley Region, which includes Hartwick College.