Deepika Rao is the first HSRP grad student to win the Michigan Mixed Methods Program scholarship
by Tristan Dooley
Congratulations to Deepika Rao, graduate student in the Health Services Research in Pharmacy (HSRP) program, for receiving a competitive US-based student scholarship to attend the University of Michigan Fall 2020 Mixed Methods 6th Annual Workshop “Designing A Mixed Methods Research Project” in November. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend this workshop and the scholarship that made it possible,” says Rao.
Social and Administrative Sciences Associate Professor Olayinka Shiyanbola, Rao’s faculty advisor, encouraged Rao to attend this workshop as a learning experience for structuring her dissertation. “Deepika is the first person from the Health Services Research in Pharmacy graduate program to attend the workshop. It is monumental that she got a competitive scholarship as well,” says Shiyanbola.
Shiyanbola felt Rao was an ideal candidate for the scholarship due to Rao’s research experience, aptitude, and keen interest and enthusiasm in mixed methods research. “Deepika recently first-authored a peer-reviewed published manuscript—a mixed methods study—and has helped peer review mixed method studies for two journals. Her ingenuity and quick-grasping abilities helped her learn new quantitative statistical software and qualitative research techniques and apply it in the projects,” says Shiyanbola.
The Michigan Mixed Methods Program is an interactive workshop where mixed methodologists educate, train, and consult scholars on their own mixed methods research projects. Rao says she will be using the workshop to refine her dissertation proposal, which involves designing a patient-centered screening and brief intervention for opioid misuse, specifically in the community pharmacy setting.
“I have taken an introductory mixed methods course and worked on several mixed method research projects. However, the workshop will help me independently design and structure a mixed methods study,” says Rao. “I hope to get critical feedback on using novel study designs and incorporating mixed method components into written research proposals and grants.”
Developing research talent with experience in the latest methodologies is part of the School’s commitment to innovation and professional development. “The use of mixed methods in pharmacy health services research is limited, so having Deepika attend this workshop will help create a new generation of pharmacy researchers conducting rigorous and impactful mixed methods research,” says Shiyanbola.
Rao is hopeful that she can use what she learns through this Mixed Methods Program even after she finishes her dissertation. “I want to introduce more researchers in the field of pharmacy to mixed methods research through the dissemination of my study findings at conferences and publications, especially pharmacy-centric organizations and journals. I believe this workshop will be an essential step towards achieving these goals,” she says.