CHICAGO, Ill., Aug. 2, 1998 -- Westwood-Squibb Pharmaceuticals announced today that it is underwriting the establishment of a center for dermatology research at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine with a five-year, $1 million research grant.
The center will focus on health services research in dermatology, said Steven R. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology and pathology, and the center's director.
"For years most dermatology research in medical centers has focused on basic biochemical research," Feldman said, "leaving clinical research to pharmaceutical companies and ignoring altogether the economic, ethical, and policy issues that are critical to the practice of dermatology on a day-to-day basis.
"With this grant and the establishment of the Westwood-Squibb Center for Dermatology Research, we will be able to address some of these issues."
Officials with Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Westwood-Squibb of Buffalo, N.Y., made the announcement during the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Milton E. Goggans, the president of Westwood-Squibb Pharmaceuticals, said that Wake Forest University is a fitting home for the research center, given the internationally recognized leadership of Joseph Jorizzo, M.D., the chairman of Wake Forest's Department of Dermatology, in advancing the field of dermatology. It is also fitting that Westwood-Squibb underwrite the center, he said.
"Since its inception, Westwood-Squibb has been the leading company supporting dermatology," Goggans said. "This center is a bold step designed to assure the future of dermatology through research that is of practical value both to dermatologists and their patients, and we are proud to be affiliated with it."
The center will be administered as a research program within the Department of Dermatology of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In addition to serving as director, Feldman will be the center's principal investigator. Alan B. Fleischer, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the school, will be co-director. Its official title will be the Westwood-Squibb Center for Dermatology Research.
The center will have two missions:
- Foster the efficient and effective care of people with skin disease
through research and education in the delivery of dermatological health care.
- Advance the specialty of dermatology by the dissemination of information and the examination of ethical practices.
Much of the center's initial research will examine the shift toward managed care since 1990 and its impact on dermatology.
In one of the Westwood-Squibb Center's first research efforts, Fleischer showed that dermatologists are the most accurate and cost efficient providers of treatment for treating fungal skin disease.
His analysis of office visits for fungal skin disease from 1990 through 1994 showed that non-dermatologists tended to prescribe less-effective medications that cost the nation's health care system $10.3 to $24.9 million more than the more-effective, less-costly medications prescribed by 95 percent of the dermatologists.
Fleischer's findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
And in the August issue of the same journal, Feldman examines the role of dermatologists in managed care environments and how managed-care organizations could improve skin care through expanded use of dermatological expertise.
Jorizzo, who was instrumental in establishing the critical mass of research at Wake Forest that made the Westwood-Squibb Center for Dermatology Research possible, said that the center will accelerate the school's ability to provide timely research that can tangibly improve people's lives through the promotion of better skin care.
"The funding from Westwood-Squibb will provide the seeds of growth for an even larger research program within the center supported by federal and industry sources," he said. "The challenges facing dermatology today call for both leadership and research, and in partnership with Westwood-Squibb, we hope to provide both."