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Working to expand clinical pharmacy care to the underserved

School of Pharmacy receives grant to expand services, educational offerings at safety net clinics

12/14/2012
Eric Liang, of the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, cares for a patient

By Chris Casey | University Communications

AURORA, Colo. - The University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has received a $509,000 grant to expand clinical pharmacy services and educational opportunities at safety net clinics in Colorado.

The two-year grant comes from the Colorado Health Foundation. Research shows that pharmacists, collaborating with physicians and other health care providers, improve patient safety and chronic disease outcomes.

Gina Moore, PharmD, MBA, director of clinical affairs, said the grant will allow the School of Pharmacy to start clinical services in Salud Family Health Centers in Commerce City, Fort Lupton and Brighton.

The grant will allow the School of Pharmacy to hire two clinical faculty members and an additional post-grad year 2 ambulatory care resident, Moore said. The grant will help expand the role of the pharmacist and student pharmacist. For example, clinical pharmacy faculty will provide oversight and direct clinical care, including using Collaborative Drug Therapy Management for treatment of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia.

Pharmacy residents and students will help improve access to care at the Salud clinics, which serves all community members but has an emphasis on care for low-income, medically underserved populations.

"It frees the primary providers up to focus on more acute care," Moore said. "And with our pharmacy students being trained as drug therapy experts, this really allows them to do what they're trained to do."

In the collaboration with Salud, the School of Pharmacy seeks to:

  • Improve access to care;
  • Address patient safety, particularly in regard to medications; and
  • Improve care coordination and transitions in care where medication mishaps often occur.

The Colorado Health Foundation is excited about how the project will advance health in the state.

“In order to achieve our vision of making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation, the Colorado Health Foundation is dedicated to increasing the number of Coloradans who have access to integrated care,” said Kelly Dunkin, vice president of Philanthropy at the Foundation. “Using clinical pharmacists in a primary care setting to help patients manage chronic conditions is a proven strategy to optimize medication therapy and promote better health. We believe pharmacists are well-positioned to be a more integral part of primary care. We are proud of this grant and applaud the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences' partnership with Salud Family Health Centers to advance integrated care.”

(Photo: Eric Liang, a student in the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, cares for a patient.)

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Contact: christopher.casey@ucdenver.edu

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