Raj Mantena is no stranger to the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy (GSOP) at PBA. His daughter is enrolled in her first year of the pharmacy program and his son is an undergraduate student. As a member of the Gregory Leadership Council, the advisory board for the School of Pharmacy, Mantena assists Dean Jeff Lewis in planning, programming and funding of the GSOP. Mantena recently deepened his connection to PBA with a pledge of $550,000 to establish the IntegraConnect Pharmacy Faculty Research Fund and the IntegraConnect Pharmacy Innovation Awards.
Mantena is chairman and founder of IntegraConnect, and has dedicated his career to finding IT solutions for specialty care medical practices, specifically in oncology and urology. His company’s products assist medical practices in maximizing patient care quality, experience and cost. His background and the vast amount of information that IntegraConnect collects provides incredible opportunities for GSOP faculty researchers.
As a pharmacist himself, Mantena understands the value of research opportunities for faculty and students. When he learned that PBA’s policies prohibit the University from applying for government grants for research, he quickly offered to help create private funding for this purpose.
Mantena’s very generous pledge has established the IntegraConnect Pharmacy Faculty Research Fund and the IntegraConnect Pharmacy Innovation Award. The first fund will provide a pool of $100,000 annually for research grants to pharmacy faculty. Dean Lewis anticipates that these grants will meet many research needs of the school and provide “starter funds” for projects that potentially may attract additional external funding through matching or other grants. Dean Lewis anticipates that 8-10 projects will be selected in the first year. Because the fund is flexible, it can support any number of projects, such as research in the discovery of drugs or new drug dosage forms, modeling new types of pharmacy services in community pharmacy settings, implementing new ways of teaching pharmacy topics and/or testing a new drug in clinical subjects.
The IntegraConnect Pharmacy Faculty Innovation Award will be used to recognize innovation in pharmacy education, research or practice. It will be awarded each year to a pharmacy faculty member in each of the school’s academic departments: pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice.
“One of the present strategic priorities for GSOP is the advancement of our research and scholarship program; fostering and highlighting the talented faculty of the school of pharmacy,” Dean Lewis said. “I am incredibly grateful for, and humbled by, the generosity of Mr. Mantena and the entire IntegraConnect family, recognizing and supporting our faculty and students in such a significant manner. He is truly a visionary, and this program will benefit greatly from his notable investment.”
These two opportunities are more effectively interweaving research and scholarship into the academy-leading fabric of the GSOP. The benefits will be significant as GSOP faculty advance their individual and collective research programs – creating new knowledge, attracting future faculty and improving the overall student experience. PBA is sincerely grateful to Mantena, his family and IntegraConnect for investing in pharmacy faculty research. Each new discovery will pay tribute to his generosity and friendship.