VCU School of Pharmacy has partnered with several agencies in the Richmond metropolitan area. These long-term partnerships allow students and faculty to regularly provide care to the underserved in Richmond.
The Daily Planet, a Federally-Qualified Health Care for the Homeless Clinic, has provided medical, mental health, vision, dental and case management services to Richmond’s homeless population for over 40 years. Annually, more than 4,500 patients are served. The partnership began in 2005 with an initial focus on providing medication education to behavioral health patients by Community Pharmacy Residents. In 2008, clinical pharmacist services were expanded to add medication therapy management through participation in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative, focusing on medication reconciliation, medication adherence, and medication-related problems. This highly successful collaboration has been recognized by four national HRSA awards for improving health outcomes and patient safety and three research merit awards. Research has been funded by the National Institute of Health, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and the VCU Council for Community Engagement.
Center for Healthy Hearts
Established in 1983, the Center is a free clinic that offers health services for uninsured patients diagnosed with or at risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes. In 2005, the partnership began with one faculty member focusing on medication counseling and adherence and in 2008, clinical pharmacy services were expanded in an attempt to treat a higher volume of patients as well as to improve overall quality of care. Currently three pharmacy faculty supervise PGY2 pharmacy residents and student pharmacists under a collaborative practice agreement with a focus on co-managing hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. This partnership has allowed the clinic to increase the number of patients served (a 7.7% increase in patient visits between 2008 and 2009) and currently, over 70% of patient visits are provided by clinical pharmacists.
CrossOver Healthcare Ministry
Established in 1983, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry is Virginia’s largest free health care clinic offering a full range of health care services to the uninsured including primary, specialty , dental and vision care services. The partnership between VCU School of Pharmacy and CrossOver Ministry began in 2008 to develop and implement a pharmacist-integrated primary care model. The pharmacy clinic is designed to improve chronic disease outcomes through comprehensive medication management services. The partnership, initially at one site, has now expanded to two clinic sites (with each site having a Pharmacist directed Diabetes Intensive Care Program and an Interprofessional Primary Care Evening Clinic. This partnership created learning opportunities for pharmacy students in their third-year to work collaboratively in the Interprofessional Primary Care Evening Clinic and service learning courses. Students on Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences and PGY-2 Ambulatory Care Residents obtain their longitudinal learning experiences at both clinic sites in the pharmacy-based clinics. In addition to teaching and practice CrossOver provides a unique setting for research in primary care and health disparities. The collaboration has demonstrated positive clinical, humanistic, and educational outcomes, resulting in recognition through the receipt of four VCU Community Engagement Grants, two local foundation grants, and two national organization/corporation grants.
Richmond Area Compassionate Care Pharmacy (RACCP)
The RACCP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation designed to assist patients who cannot afford their necessary “brand name only” medications. Developed as a partnership of Senior Connections (Richmond’s local Area Agency on Aging), the VCU School of Pharmacy, and Riverside Health System in 2010, the pharmacy applies to the assistance programs of pharmaceutical manufacturers on behalf of its patients. Unlike other area pharmacies that provide a similar service, RACCP does not operate in association with a clinic, thus serves any patient who has access to a doctor or nurse practitioner but cannot afford their medications. RACCP also provides medication therapy management services for its clients to improve the overall use of medications in this population, which often experiences uncoordinated care. VCU faculty and students worked with a VCU SOP alumnus, who now serves as the Pharmacist-in-Charge, to obtain funding and premises and to establish the nonprofit pharmacy. The RACCP serves as a venue for third year student pharmacist service learning experiences and as a community outreach service of the VCU SOP Student Chapter of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). Students have been an integral part of developing, implementing, and delivering services and have presented their work nationally at the annual meeting of the ASCP.
Dominion Place is an independently owned apartment complex for eligible low-income elders. Although residents are living independently, many are of ethnic minority with low health literacy, functional decline, and high chronic disease burden and lack the necessary healthcare resources to remain independent. To begin addressing the healthcare challenges within this community, Dominion Place and VCU partnered in April 2012 to implement an on-site wellness clinic with a focus on improving health outcomes while decreasing non-emergent healthcare utilization. Dominion Place provides a rich opportunity for third year service learning students and fourth year APPE students to enhance their understanding of appropriate, comprehensive geriatric care. Interprofessional pairs of students from the Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Medicine, and Social Work provide care coordination through health screenings and counseling services with a focus on diabetes, hypertension, and medication management. The partnership has received three grants including a recently awarded $1.5 million HRSA grant to refine services at Dominion Place and to replicate the practice model at two other sites in downtown Richmond.
Una Vida Sana (UVS)
This community-academic partnership was initiated in 2009 by the VCU Schools of Pharmacy, Medicine, and Nursing in response to a community need for cardio-metabolic screenings and outreach in the underserved Hispanic community of Richmond, VA. UVS patients typically do not have a primary care doctor, make less than $25,000 a year, and are uninsured. Community members utilizing UVS services are screened for dyslipidemia, diabetes, and hypertension and directed to a local free health clinic for follow-up care. The interprofessional care team of students and faculty provide care and education to patients with the goal of helping patients meet their healthcare needs. To date, over 100 students have participated in these outreach events and UVS will continue to help meet the increasing healthcare needs of this local population.
Remote Area Medical (RAM)
RAM operates free, mobile medical clinics that provide dental, medical, and vision services in the US and abroad. Since 2007, the school has partnered with RAM to set up a 3-day event in rural Wise County, VA. Each year, approximately 15 student pharmacists work in interdisciplinary teams with students from the VCU Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing to provide medication reconciliation, obtain blood pressures, and blood sugars, screen for diabetes and dyslipidemia, and provide medication counseling for those who receive antibiotics and pain medications. Students’ written reflections about RAM reveal that they highly value the service learning experience and that their understanding of the needs of the underserved population is changed. RAM effectively balances meeting the needs of the community with 2,244 patients served in 2014, while offering an invaluable educational experience for 106 students to-date.
Mission of Mercy (MOM)
MOM is sponsored by the Virginia Dental Foundation Association and provides free dental care and medical screenings for uninsured patients throughout Virginia. This collaboration began in 2009 and involves the same interdisciplinary learners and pre-event orientation process as RAM. These weekend events typically serve 400 to 600 patients in underserved communities such as Yorktown, Suffolk, Petersburg, Emporia and Virginia Beach.
Pharmacy Health Fair
The VCU School of Pharmacy Health Fair is a yearly event offered to members of the Richmond community. Student pharmacists educate patients on disease states from breast cancer to kidney disease. They also conduct free blood pressure and blood glucose screenings. As part of the health fair this year, student pharmacists will also teach free classes to children in second to seventh grade on exercise, nutrition, substance abuse, poison prevention, and smoking prevention.
Community Health Fair
The VCU/MCV Community Health Fair is a multidisciplinary event planned by the MCV campus student government association. Student pharmacists are highly involved every year with the planning and operations of this event. School of Pharmacy organizations distribute patient educational materials and counsel patients. Student pharmacists work alongside other healthcare professional students to conduct cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose screenings. Dental students conduct free screenings and local free clinics and community organizations provide follow-up services to underserved members of the Richmond community. Community organizations also provide HIV and STD screenings. A children’s area filled with interactive games and volunteers, helps children to learn more about their bodies and health."