New director of health research institute is selected after national search
Tobias Gerhard, a professor of pharmacy and epidemiology, has been named director of Rutgers University’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (IFH).
Gerhard has served as acting and interim director of IFH since December 2021 and was selected for the position after an extensive national search.
Gerhard is an internationally renowned pharmacoepidemiologist whose career focuses on two related themes of research: the use and effects of drugs for mental health disorders; and the use and effects of drugs in the elderly. He has made extensive and impactful contributions to the real-world use, comparative effectiveness and safety of psychotropic medications. A fellow of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, Gerhard serves as the organization’s elected president.
Gerhard’s research has been recognized with several honors, including a Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation; a New Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology; an Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of Florida; and the 2020 Sternfels Prize for Drug Safety Discoveries. In 2022, he was elected to the American Epidemiological Society.
“The Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research exemplifies interdisciplinary research at its best,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “I am delighted that we were, therefore, able to attract as candidates for the position, multiple superb leaders from around the country. Dr. Gerhard stood out among them.”
Strom added: “I am confident that under Dr. Gerhard’s leadership, the institute will continue to be at the forefront of population and health care research, expanding upon its impactful work in New Jersey and beyond, to help us build one of the best academic health centers in the country here at Rutgers.”
Gerhard has published extensively on the use, safety and outcomes of therapeutics, particularly of psychotropic medications in vulnerable populations, with more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. He serves on the editorial boards of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety and Clinical and Translational Science. His work has been funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Mental Health, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and by multiple foundations.
Gerhard has served as a standing member of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug safety and risk management advisory committee and as a committee member for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
“While the institute has been moving the needle on population and health care research for decades, I look forward to Dr. Gerhard’s implementation of his vision for this unique Rutgers asset and using his extensive expertise in pharmacoepidemiology to help us better understand health outcomes and propel our institution forward,” said Joseph Barone, dean of the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers.
Gerhard earned his pharmacy degree from the University of Freiburg in Germany and his doctoral degree in pharmacoepidemiology from the University of Florida. He joined Rutgers in 2007 as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. In 2017, he became the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science (PETS). Since its formation, PETS has expanded to 10 multidisciplinary faculty with more than $20 million in extramural funding. A national search for a new director for the center will commence in the coming months.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to assume the leadership of the Institute for Health,” Gerhard said. “Its distinguished history, talented faculty and staff, and commitment to thoughtful multidisciplinary exchange, position IFH well to become a unique incubator for innovative collaborative work that creatively combines diverse disciplinary perspectives, methods, and theories to answer important questions for population health and improve the lives of the people of New Jersey and the world.”