University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy Honored for Community Service

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will receive the 2011-12 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award for their significant institutional commitment to addressing unmet community needs through education, practice, and research.

The award was renamed in honor of one of the Association’s past presidents and visionaries. Consisting of a commemorative Steuben glass Beacon of Light and a financial stipend, it highlights community service as an important element of the academic mission and identifies institutions that serve as examples of social responsiveness on the part of the academic health professions community.

“We have an incredible team of pharmacy practitioners, including Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty, residents, and local pharmacists delivering patient-centered care to underserved populations in the Mississippi Delta and well beyond,” said Barbara G. Wells, PharmD, dean of the School of Pharmacy, in a statement. “Many practicing pharmacists and other health care professionals who live in these underserved areas are passionately committed to these projects. They improve the health and quality of life of Mississippians and provide our students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in our classrooms and labs.”

The University of Mississippi has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving the health of citizens in their local community, said GPhA. The School of Pharmacy shares this social awareness and its faculty, staff, and students seek opportunities through teaching, practice, and research.

One school program, the Delta Pharmacy Patient Care Management Project, has gone beyond the traditional academic role in service. The project is a community-based research approach to providing innovative pharmacy services in the Mississippi Delta, an impoverished and underserved region. This project has multiple initiatives from implementation of Medication Therapy Management services to integrating pharmacists into health information technology, implementing disease education classes, and the development of two Community Pharmacy Residency positions.

Through the Delta Project, the School of Pharmacy provides diabetes group education classes at 2 sites, the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center and in the employer-based setting at Viking Range Corporation. The classes include weekly, pharmacist-led, 1- to 2-hour sessions at the clinic or worksite, during which the group discusses topics such as an overview of diabetes, complications, and healthy meal choices.

The School of Pharmacy, in partnership with the Delta Health Alliance, is also one of 17 Beacon BLUES (Better Living Utilizing Electronic Systems) Communities. The goal of the program is to improve access to care for diabetic patients through the meaningful use of electronic health records and health information exchange by primary care providers in the Mississippi Delta. It also aims to increase the efficiency of healthcare in the area by reducing excess healthcare costs and improving care coordination for diabetic patients through the use of the electronic health record.

Representatives from The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will be honored during the 2012 AACP Annual Meeting, July 14-18, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.