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Health Services Research & Development

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National Mentoring Network (MNET) Mentor Profiles

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Francesca Cunningham, Pharm D.
Center for Medication Safety

Research Interests: Drug safety, pharmacoepidemiology, patient safety

Francesca Cunningham, Pharm.D. is the Director of the Center for Medication Safety, Associate Chief Consultant and Program Director of Outcomes Assessment at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pharmacy Benefits Management Services (PBM). Dr. Cunningham was the driving force behind the successful effort of PBM to establish reliable methods for merging the VA prescription database with other large VA-related databases in order to evaluate the safe and appropriate use of medications in the veteran population. Her focus has been on assessing new agents where safety data is lacking (postmarketing surveillance) and older drugs when a newly emerging danger requires evaluation. Dr. Cunningham designed the VAMedSAFE and PBM Drug Safety Quality Improvement (QI) program. Under her direction the program has become a comprehensive pharmacovigilance program and a major tool in the evaluation of drug safety in the VA and its role in the formulary decision process. Dr. Cunningham’s group has worked independently and with other researchers to perform several drug safety and pharmaco-epidemiologic studies. She sits on several internal and external Boards and committees that focus on patient safety with an emphasis on pharmacovigilance and post-marketing surveillance including the committee for the FDA monitoring, Sentinel Initiative.

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