Eman Hammad, a Fulbright visiting scholar from the University of Jordan, began her Fulbright scholar program at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine in the fall of 2018. Her research at the University of Illinois is in pharmacoeconomics, which addresses the cost-effectiveness of medications.

Eman’s story began in her home country of Jordan, where at a young age, a trip to the pharmacy catalyzed a curiosity in pharmacology. She witnessed the everyday practice of pharmacists ensuring efficacy and safety of medications and helping patients to better understand how to use their medications. For Eman, this experience emphasized the value of pharmacy in a person’s overall healthcare experience. She went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Jordan, and later pursued her Ph.D. in the UK, a move motivated by the opportunity to observe the practice of pharmacoeconomics overseas.

Now, in addition to teaching pharmacy practice at the University of Jordan, Eman focuses on health economics, teaching both pharmacy and medical students about the cost effectiveness and economics of pharmacy services. She also served on the National Committee for Drug Pricing at the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) where she worked to ensure fair pricing for medications. She considered her work with the JFDA to be a very influential experience and enriching to her career and personality.

“It’s so empowering to understand the role and the responsibility we share to make our home and the world a better place,” she said.

Eman meets with manufacturers, health providers and patient advocates to advocate policy decisions that aim to ensure availability and accessibility of affordable medicines to Jordanians. She works to place herself in the shoes of the patient, healthcare provider and manufacturers to consider how these decisions will affect them, knowing that each decision she makes influences the well being of the people in her country.

Her experiences with the Drug Pricing Committee have influenced her decision to move further into drug regulation science and biosimilars, a type of medication that are very similar to reference biologics. Biosimilars are available at more affordable prices, helping to increase patients’ access to vital therapies. At Illinois, she has the opportunity to collaborate with the economics department to explore the data involved with the economics of biosimilars.

“Every day here is an opportunity to exchange ideas and views with researchers and scholars from around the world. I’m really proud of being a Fulbrighter,” she said.

Jacob Sigmon contributed to this story.