BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s Dr. Dave Williams, professor in the Beaver College of Health Sciences’ Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management, has been selected as a 2019–20 Fulbright Scholar for his research project “A Study of Austrian Biopharmaceutical Ecosystems.” He is the college’s first Fulbright Scholar and one of seven Appalachian faculty members awarded a Fulbright for the 2019–20 academic year.
Through the Fulbright Scholar Program, Williams will travel to Austria in spring 2020 to teach health care management to a diverse group of international students at Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) and perform research on Austrian and other central European biopharmaceutical ecosystems.
Williams said the research component of his Fulbright “involves examining the many stakeholders’ (e.g., academia, industry, government and society) roles in developing innovative drugs.”
Furthermore, he said the study will offer insights as to how the various ecosystems seek to reduce time to market and costs for biopharmaceutical products.
In a biopharmaceutical ecosystem, universities, venture capital firms, contract research organizations, nonprofit agencies, biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, as well as health care providers — such as hospitals, physicians and pharmacists, work in collaboration and compete with each other to develop new therapies and medicines, Williams explained.
Examples of biopharmaceutical products include medications for arthritis, certain types of cancers and diabetes.
“The study of different biopharmaceutical ecosystems is important to Americans, as some scholars have questioned the sustainability of the U.S.’s current drug development financing model,” he explained.
“For example, it has been noted that the average time to develop and win approval for a drug or therapeutic product has grown to 15 years in the U.S., with the cost of bringing a drug to market in the U.S. estimated to be in excess of $2.5 billion,” he added.
MCI is an ideal location to study biopharmaceutical firms and ecosystems, Williams said, because it is an international university of applied sciences founded as an entrepreneurial school, which is “consistent with the history and nature of the biopharmaceutical market sector.”
His Fulbright research is part of a larger project in which he is comparing the approaches that different regions in the U.S. and Europe use to bring innovative drugs to market. Elsevier — the world’s leading publisher of science and health information — will publish this larger project in book form, he shared.
Williams holds a Ph.D. in administration-health services from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Master of Health Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University, as well as a B.A. in English literature from Wofford College.
He began his career in academia at Appalachian in 2003 as an assistant professor in the Walker College of Business’ Department of Management.
As a former senior health care executive who has worked for nonprofit and for-profit organizations, he continues to provide advice to organizations, as well as former students and colleagues. His research interests lie in factors associated with entrepreneurship and strategic management of health care organizations, with several of his research projects supported through funding from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association.
Williams’ research has been presented at the Academy of Management, Association of University Programs in Health Administration and Southern Management Association, among others, and has been published in journals such as Drug Discovery Today, Journal of Business Research and Small Business Economics.
He has won both external research and internal service awards and served as director of Appalachian’s health care management program from 2011–19. He is active in service at the program, department, college and university levels.
He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
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About the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management
The Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences provides graduate and undergraduate programs. The undergraduate health care management program prepares students for entry-level management positions, while the online Master of Health Administration degree is designed for working professionals who desire to advance their careers. The undergraduate nutrition and foods program prepares students for careers in dietetics or food systems management in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and food banks. The highly competitive master’s degree in nutrition provides a pathway for students to become registered dietitians. Learn more at https://nhm.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers nine undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.