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VCU School of Pharmacy celebrates launch of the Center for Pharmacy Practice Transformation

Speaking to a room full of students and faculty members from Virginia Commonwealth University health sciences schools on Tuesday, Alan Dow, M.D., remarked on his experiences practicing medicine at the Richmond High Blood Pressure Center.

Joseph T. DiPiro (left), Pharm.D., dean of the School of Pharmacy, with Leticia Moczygemba (middle), Pharm.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, and Donald Brophy, Pharm.D., professor and chairman in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, at the opening of the School of Pharmacy’s Center for Pharmacy Practice Transformation.
Joseph T. DiPiro (left), Pharm.D., dean of the School of Pharmacy, with Leticia Moczygemba (middle), Pharm.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, and Donald Brophy, Pharm.D., professor and chairman in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, at the opening of the School of Pharmacy’s Center for Pharmacy Practice Transformation.

“The center follows a pharmacist-led model,” Dow said of the free clinic where pharmacists lead the chronic disease management of uninsured, at-risk patients. People who receive care at the center see a pharmacist about seven times for every one time they see a doctor. The model has proven to be effective, with measures for the control of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes at the center exceeding national benchmarks.

“The faculty and students who practice there are thinking differently about how to deliver care to that population,” Dow said of the collaboration between faculty and students from the VCU Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine. “They have taken the needs of a community and developed a new model of care to meet those needs.”  

Dow, who is assistant vice president of interprofessional education and collaborative care, was speaking at the grand opening of the School of Pharmacy’s Center for Pharmacy Practice Transformation. The center, which officially launched on Oct. 27, aims to expand upon programs such as the Richmond High Blood Pressure Center, improving health through the development and evaluation of innovative models that integrate pharmacists in the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered, cost-effective and collaborative care.

A pharmacy student works with a woman at Imperial Plaza, a senior living facility in Richmond.
A pharmacy student works with a woman at Imperial Plaza, a senior living facility in Richmond.

“We have been building on these successes,” said center director Leticia Moczygemba, Pharm.D., Ph.D.,  associate professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science. Moczygemba and her colleagues have been working with faculty from within the School of Pharmacy and throughout the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health Professions to develop the center for the past five years.

“This is an opportunity to leverage our expertise in patient care and practice-based research in a more impactful way,” she said, adding that the opening of the center comes at a time when pharmacists’ roles are shifting from acting as pill dispensers to being recognized as integral members of health care teams.  

“The change from product orientation to patient focus is really driving what is going on here,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., dean of the School of Pharmacy. “This center is going to be instrumental in addressing some of the key questions that we have within our profession, and more importantly, how our profession interacts with other health professions in the broader picture of health care.”

Through the Center for Pharmacy Practice Transformation, School of Pharmacy faculty members plan to build upon their work in pharmacist services thus far, conduct research to understand the impact of pharmacist care on health and economic outcomes, educate pharmacists and students about the evolving roles and responsibilities of the profession and expand existing partnerships that advance the center’s mission.

“Through the work of the center we will strive to continue to advance pharmacist’s roles on health care teams,” Moczygemba said. “We want to be proactive in creating that change.”

This center is going to be instrumental in addressing some of the key questions that we have within our profession.

 

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