May 3, 2023
The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy will receive the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) 2023 Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award for the 2021-2022 academic year, marking the first time a school or college of pharmacy has received the honor two times.
According to AACP’s website, this award is presented annually to one college or school of pharmacy demonstrating a major institutional commitment to addressing unmet community needs through education, practice and research. The college will accept the Lawrence C Weaver Award, which consists of a commemorative sculpture and a $5,000 honorarium, during AACP’s Annual Meeting in Aurora, Colorado, on July 23.
"Community engagement is a key focus in the college's strategic plan,” said Jennifer Rodis, PharmD, FAPhA, associate dean of outreach and engagement and professor of clinical pharmacy at the college. “The work that we do in this area benefits patients' access to care and significantly enhances students’ learning experiences. We are honored to receive recognition for the work our faculty, staff and students are doing to improve medication outcomes across the state and around the globe.”
The college’s commitment to the community is evident through partnerships, community service hours worked, policy change through advocacy and educational initiatives. Since the college earned the award in 2017, faculty, staff and students have continued to address unmet community needs. In 2021 and 2022, students provided 5,762 hours of community service and served 15,442 patients through 103 distinct sites.
Expanded practice and training opportunities
Expanded practice and training spaces allow our faculty, staff and students to support vulnerable populations such as the underinsured and uninsured, underserved, disabled, low-income, refugees, immigrants and rural Ohioans. The college has partnered with several organizations to deliver care to more than 16,000 patients and offer numerous APPE and IPPE rotations, residencies and academic fellowships. Many faculty members have joint appointments with these partners.
Policy advocacy is crucial for providing the optimal level of care for patients and advancing the profession. Since 2017, students at the College of Pharmacy have hosted 16 legislator visits and have written over 250 advocacy letters. In collaboration with partners including the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, American Pharmacists Association and Ohio Pharmacists Association, faculty and students have consulted on more than a dozen bills and regulations in the state of Ohio and more than 100 across the country. These efforts have translated into tangible change – including passing provider status in Ohio.
“Legislative change in health care is happening rapidly in Ohio. The college decided to take the responsibility to be part of this change in collaboration with stakeholders across the state,” said Henry Mann, PharmD, FCCP, FCCM, FASHP, dean and professor at the college. "This investment in time, personnel and resources was aligned with the land-grant mission of enhancing the lives of Ohioans and with our goals of training the next generation of pharmacy leaders to continue to make positive change in the profession.”
The college’s Office of Outreach and Engagement, led by Dr. Rodis, has focused on equipping the college community with the skills to advocate for change and educate on practice change through policy. Changing the college curriculum in classroom settings, experiential education and co-curricular learning allowed two faculty members to join the college and to recruit practice advancement and advocacy Fellows.
Partnerships and educational programs
“The college has had a long history of collaboration with community-engaged organizations to leverage pharmacist expertise to advance knowledge and access to resources and care for citizens of our state,” Dean Mann said. “Notable long-standing partnerships have involved the Central Ohio Museum of Science and Industry (COSI), OSU Extension and K12 educators in the region. While programs have sustained the test of time with these partners, they have evolved and developed since 2017.”
The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) is a non-formal educational program that develops programming to address local community needs while also addressing state, national and global issues. The college has a shared position with OSUE that has provided opportunities to flex into public health education, advocacy and linkages to care in recent years.
The college’s Generation Rx program has laid the foundation for promoting safe medication stewardship across Ohio and across the country. Since 2007, the program has been used by over 100,000 facilitators to directly educate over 3 million people across all 50 states and over 120 colleges. The college’s faculty, staff and students create and distribute free, evidence-informed educational materials that anyone can use to help prevent the misuse of prescription drugs.
The college has created a variety of K12 educational programs through our college and partnerships. Notable programs include the Pills, Potions and Poisons (PPP) and Upward Bound summer camps that engage 30-50 high school students annually. In 2020 and 2021, the camps were re-imagined for a virtual setting. Twelve videos showcased different careers as well as roles in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences and won the Ohio State's O&E Impact Report Grant to evaluate outcomes of the virtual format.