College of Pharmacy named ACT Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence by AACP

June 6, 2024
Community pharmacy tean

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy was recognized this June by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) as an Academia-Community Transformation (ACT) Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence. 

The ACT Pharmacy Collaborative recognizes schools of pharmacy that demonstrate a commitment to advancing community pharmacy through teaching, service, scholarship and leadership as well as partnership support. Ohio State joins 16 other schools of pharmacy during this inaugural year of the ACT Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence recognition. 

The Community Pharmacy Team
The Community Pharmacy Team (Top to bottom, left to right: Bella Mehta, Kelli Barnes, Bella Blankenship, Anna Gehres,; Grace Havens, Rebecca Lahrman, Jared Malott E. Michael Murphy, Sean Nebergall, Kerry Pickworth, Jen Rodis, Jennifer Seifert, Myriam Shaw

The college’s nomination was spearheaded by Clinical Professor and Chair of the Division of Pharmacy Practice and Science Bella Mehta, PharmD, FAPhA, and highlighted the work of faculty, staff and residents at the college dedicated to uplifting the profession and empowering current and future students to innovate community care.  

The college has established itself as a leader in the community pharmacy practice innovation space.  College of Pharmacy faculty practitioners and Ohio State Pharmacy Residency Programs have more than 75 years of combined experience in patient care delivery and training residents. Recent key areas of development have focused on access to care provided by pharmacists for Ohioans and specifically, underserved communities. These efforts include expanding student and faculty practice and training opportunities with vulnerable populations, enhancing education to foster safe medication practices and advocating for policy change. 

The college has strategically invested in building and growing community practice partnerships and shared faculty partnerships. The community practice transformation has been led by the college’s team of faculty practitioners and residency partners with support from college leadership 

The college is committed to developing practitioners able to practice pharmacy at the top of their license. Recently, a team of researchers led by Professor and Associate Dean of Outreach and Engagement Jen Rodis, PharmD, FAPhA, and Associate Professor E. Michael Murphy, PharmD, conducted a mapping of the PharmD curriculum related to practice change. The group defined practice change as “learning experiences that build knowledge and skills to prepare students to practice as pharmacists at the top of their licenses and to advance the role of pharmacists in patient care. This advancement involves engagement in innovative and entrepreneurial models of care, new and emerging compensation opportunities, and advocacy to improve policy around patient access to pharmacist care”. 

One way that PharmD students achieve hands-on experience in the community is through the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) curricula. 

“Pharmacists are incredibly accessible for our patient. Immersing our students in the community early in their PharmD education allows them to observe the unique roles pharmacists fill as a part of the healthcare team. By experiencing the barriers and challenges to care that patients face, students gain the perspective and inspiration to come back into the classroom and develop the skills required to be outstanding providers upon graduation.” 

Kelli Barnes, PharmD
P3 IPPE Administrator

This network is strengthened by the college’s residency program, which was one of the first accredited in the country. Clinical Professor and Specialty Clinical Pharmacist at the Ross Heart Hospital Kerry Pickworth, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, served as chair of the Commission on Credentialing, where she advocated for community pharmacy residency programs nationwide.  

Associate Professor and Director of Continuing Professional Development Jenni Seifert, MS, RPh, BCGP, directs the college’s residency program. With over 25 years of community pharmacy expertise, Seifert mentors residents to disseminate care and scholarship in communities. Community-based residents Jared Malott, PharmD, and Grace Havens, PharmD, exemplify this accessibility focus by conducting research at their locations on patient-assistance programs. 

Many faculty and staff divide their time between the college and other Central Ohio medical centers. Associate Professor Anna Gehres, PharmD, practices within a community pharmacy based in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Assistant Professor Sean Nebergall practices at a community pharmacy that provides affordable and affirming pharmacy care services. At their respective locations, both faculty members support accessible programs that address unique community needs and precept pharmacy students exploring community care. 

As a leader in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Community-Based Practice and Research Network (PRN), Associate Professor Rebecca Lahrman, PharmD, MS, BCACP, represents the unique needs of Ohio State and our surrounding central Ohio communities when the organization considers the future of pharmacy. Dr. Lahrman functions as a faculty member and pharmacist, providing innovative care at an independent rural community pharmacy in southeast Ohio.  

“While I love ensuring my patients have access to medications, I have a more significant role in their life by reinforcing the conversations they have with their providers, encouraging them to advocate for themselves and educating them on their medications,” Dr. Lahrman said. “Currently, that role is undervalued in our health care system, but it is needed by so many patients. 

The College of Pharmacy has piloted a practitioner readiness curricular thread that weaves community-based topics into each year of the PharmD curriculum. Professors Donald Sullivan, PhD, RPh; Marcia Worley, PhD, RPh, FAPhA; and Bella Mehta, PharmD, FAPhA; along with Assistant Professors Myriam Shaw Ojeda, PharmD, and E. Michael Murphy, PharmD, have led a workgroup to train student pharmacists for emerging practice opportunities. These combined in-class and extracurricular experiences engage students on topics including billing and reimbursement codes, collaborative practice agreements and provider status efforts. 

Fellowships, such as the Practice Advancement and Advocacy Fellowship currently held by Bella Blankenship, PharmD, provide opportunities for post-graduate students to extend their experience advocating for the profession. 

Collaborations with internal and external partners aim to empower pharmacists to be agents of change to lead practice transformation through collaborative and interprofessional patient care, education, and dissemination of scholarship. 

Recognition as an ASCP ACT Community Pharmacy Center of Excellence opens the door to exciting interprofessional collaborations and networking with other leaders in community-based practice, research, and educational innovation. 

Ohio State remains focused on advancing pharmacy practice, expanding community engagement efforts and focusing on the creation of a strong student and trainee pipeline that accelerates community-based practice, involves advocacy and policy change, and fosters scholarly research. 

The college will be formally recognized at AACP's Annual Meeting, July 20-23, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Community Engagement