Philanthrophy's Impact: Milli Reddy, MS Pharmacy

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Milli Reddy - Higher Learning:  Philanthropy's Impact on the Graduate School

“If I have an insightful idea, I want to bring it to fruition so I can impact patients’ lives.”  Milli Reddy, MS ’09, pharmacy administration graduate student and recipient of two Johnson & Johnson Graduate Fellowships in Pharmacy and a continuing fellowship from the Graduate School, has no shortage of ideas. And, if her past work as a pharmacist serving underrepresented populations is any indication of her future performance, she will soon be improving even more lives throughout the world.

Even people with the best ideas need a to-do list to stay on track. Here’s Reddy’s:

#1) Work with the World Health Organization to analyze the cost-effectiveness of a proposed diagnostic test. The test is meant to determine if patients are resistant to certain tuberculosis medications. Reddy and faculty adviser Karen Rascati, holder of the Stewart Turley/Eckerd Corporation Centennial Endowed Professorship in Pharmacy, plan to use a type of decision analysis called Markov modeling to look at certain populations — such as HIV patients with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis — to determine the effectiveness of using the test and the cost of treating patients with the correct TB drug. “It is important,” says Reddy, “that we understand the cost of diagnostics in relation to their effectiveness and usefulness in helping clinicians select the correct drug, especially when resistance poses a challenge.” The goal is to treat as many patients as possible, and in the most efficient way.

#2) Execute the Outstanding Commitment Award grant she received from the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and Pat Tillman Foundation in February. Reddy is one of 78 students to receive funding for projects CGI classifies as “new, specific, and measurable plans to address current global challenges.” Her plan to improve the lives of patients living with HIV in Kwa-Zula Natal, South Africa through educational support was one of two projects highlighted on The Today Show. While working with those patients in her native South Africa, Reddy saw firsthand the need for pharmaceutical and educational services for this population. She is creating a library for patients and an educational speaker series for both patients and health-care professionals through a local community center.

#3) Complete her PhD in the still-emerging field of pharmacoeconomics. Currently working on her qualifying exams, Reddy hopes to incorporate her passion for health care in underrepresented populations and the skills she is gaining in her doctoral program to address global health issues. The value of pharmacoeconomics, she believes, lies in balancing the costs of solutions with the benefits and quality of life for patients, and she is eager to put what she has learned into practice.

Reddy received her pharmacy and first master’s degrees at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. When she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies, she chose UT because of its outstanding reputation and the opportunity to work with Dr. Rascati. She admits, however, that the prospect of living in Austin was also quite a draw. “I’m now a proud Longhorn, and I enjoy what UT and Austin have to offer — when I can find the time!”

by Kathleen Mabley
August, 2009

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