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Marcum named K12 Scholar for research on dementia and cardiac medications

UWSOP researcher will investigate the impact medication adherence has on patient health outcomes

UWSOP Assistant Professor and K12 Scholar Zachary Marcum
UWSOP Assistant Professor and K12 Scholar Zachary Marcum Photo: Matt Hagen

UW School of Pharmacy (UWSOP) Assistant Professor Zachary Marcum was named to the University of Washington Patient Centered Outcomes (PCOR) K12 Career Development Program. This program supports the career development of post-doctoral and junior research and clinical doctorate faculty scholars in comparative effectiveness research methods, applied to patient-centered outcomes.

“For me, this support is the best possible thing to happen as I advance my research in geriatric pharmacy,“ said Zach. “My research interests in geriatrics and dementia are influenced by my grandmother, who had dementia, and my Residency at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis where I came to see the positive impact my work as a pharmacist could have on Veterans.”

The K12 funding enables Zach to go deeper with patient-centered outcome research to support healthy aging processes for older adults. He will look at medication adherence to chronic cardiac medications in older adults. “Dementia is often linked to illnesses that indicate cardiovascular risk, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. I plan to look at medication adherence to ACE inhibitors, statins, and oral diabetes medications and identify potential areas for improvement.”

Medication adherence is normally measured as an average, but the average doesn’t tell the full story of why a patient is adherent or not. Zach hopes to gain a better understanding of the different long-term patterns of medication use to help improve education and outcomes for patients with more adherence challenges. In the long run, it is hoped that improving adherence to chronic cardiovascular medications will delay the onset of dementia in older adults.

Assistant Professor and K12 Scholar Zach Marcum with Faculty Emerita Joy Plein and alumnus David Bailey
Assistant Professor and K12 Scholar Zach Marcum with Faculty Emerita Joy Plein and alumnus David Bailey Photo: Sarah C.B. Guthrie

Zach joined the UW School of Pharmacy in January 2105, thanks to David and Anita Bailey, long time supporters of UW School of Pharmacy, who provided seed funds for his position. His research will build on collaborations with UWSOP Shirley & Herb Bridge Endowed Professor Shelly Gray and Group Health’s Vice President for Research Eric Larson. The three-year K12 program of support will begin this summer.

Throughout the program, Zach will connect with other faculty, the K12 Scholars, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows in order to build a network of collaborators at the University of Washington and with our partner organizations – Group Health Research Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Puget Sound VA. In addition, he will regularly participate in the CHASE Alliance Works-in–Progress (WIP) sessions which brings together the K12 scholars from a variety of units to present their ideas to senior, mid-level, and junior researchers across the sciences at UW, Group Health, the VA, and Fred Hutch.

“UW School of Pharmacy faculty have long been know for their talent and innovation in their fields of expertise. Zach is the kind of rising star who embodies this legacy of thought leadership,” said Dean Sean D. Sullivan. “We are so pleased he is part of the team here at the UW and have great confidence in his future in geriatric pharmacy practice and policy.”

Dr. Marcum has been a faculty member in the UW Department of Pharmacy since 2015. He is an investigator on federally funded research grants and is author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. He has received an American Geriatrics Society New Investigator Award and a Next-Generation Pharmacist Rising Star of the Year Award. Previously, he completed a two-year fellowship in geriatric pharmacotherapy research at the University of Pittsburgh and a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at the Indianapolis VA Medical Center.

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