2014 Magrath University Community Engagement Award: The anatomy of a national honor


Monday, November 10th, 2014
By: Cynthia McMullen
PCOC was named a Magrath finalist during the Engagement Scholarship Consortium: K.C. Ogbonna (from left), Leticia Moczygemba, Julie Bilodeau, Sallie Mayer and Cathy Howard in Canada.

PCOC was named a Magrath finalist during the Engagement Scholarship Consortium: K.C. Ogbonna (from left), Leticia Moczygemba, Julie Bilodeau, Sallie Mayer and Cathy Howard in Canada.

 


Read more about the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, and view the Pharmacist Collaborative Care and Outreach in the Community program video.

It takes a village! When VCU School of Pharmacy faculty members found out early on a Tuesday morning that the school’s Pharmacist Collaborative Care and Outreach in the Community program had won the prestigious C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, emails and texts started flying.

After all, “PCOC” – an acronym for the school’s community partnerships and outreach programs since 2001 — wouldn’t have been possible without the 14 faculty members, 500 students and 35 residents who participated in more than 20,000 patient care encounters since that time. (And those numbers have increased quite a bit since the award application was first submitted.)

Around 8:35 a.m. Nov. 4, several pharmacy faculty received an email that said, “We did it!!! Stay tuned for more details. Thanks for all you did!” The enthusiastic sender was Cathy Howard, vice provost for the VCU Division of Community Engagement. She was in Orlando, Fla., at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ 127th Annual Meeting, and VCU’s win had just been announced.

“The Division of Community Engagement has been a long-time supporter of these initiatives, including providing initial pilot funding for many of them,” noted School of Pharmacy faculty Leticia Moczygemba.

Moczygemba is one of the many pharmacy faculty members who have been engaged in developing and sustaining the PCOC program, along with Ron Ballentine, Dave Dixon, Krista Donohoe, Kelly Goode, Sharon Gatewood, Sallie Mayer, K.C. Ogbonna, Emily Peron, Brigitte Sicat, Evan Sisson, Patty Slattum, Tyler Stevens and Ben Van Tassell. Wanda Coffey also contributed to engagement initiatives via the Office of Experiential Education.

Picking up the Magrath Award in Orlando, Fla.: John Wiencek, Provost's Office (from left); Kevin Allison, President's Office; Cathy Howard (holding award sculpture) and Ivelina Metcheva, Office of Research.

Picking up the Magrath Award in Orlando, Fla.: John Wiencek, Provost’s Office (from left); Kevin Allison, President’s Office; Cathy Howard (holding award sculpture) and Ivelina Metcheva, Office of Research.

After VCU nominated the pharmacy program for the Magrath Award last spring, Mayer, Moczygemba and Sicat worked with PCOC faculty to prepare the submission. In June, the School of Pharmacy was notified that it was one of four finalists nationwide and a regional winner of the Engagement Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award.

In early October, Howard, Mayer, Moczygemba and Ogbonna traveled to the Engagement Scholarship Consortium in Canada to accept the regional award and to be reviewed by a panel of Magrath Award judges.

Julie Bilodeau, executive director of Richmond’s CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, accompanied the VCU team. CrossOver is one of the School of Pharmacy’s primary academic-community partnerships, along with the Daily Planet, Dominion Place, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services, Imperial Plaza, Richmond Area Compassionate Care Pharmacy and Richmond Center for High Blood Pressure.

Bilodeau explained to judges that CrossOver Healthcare Ministry is a free clinic that provides health-care services to more than 7,000 low-income, uninsured residents in the Richmond area. Partnerships with the university, she said, increase the clinic’s capacity to see patients.

She credited the School of Pharmacy for assisting in the development of the clinic’s community pharmacy and for working closely with the most severe diabetic patients, changing their prognosis from hopelessness to hope … hope that they can take control of their disease and have healthier lives.

Engaging with the community benefits the pharmacy student, faculty member or resident as much as it does the patient.

Engaging with the community benefits the pharmacy student, faculty member or resident as much as it does the patient.

Bottom line? Said Bilodeau, “The impact on our patients is truly life-changing.” That sentiment is echoed by Mayer, who is the lead faculty collaborator at CrossOver and has worked for seven years to help patients with diabetes.

Moczygemba attested that students and faculty benefit from community engagement, as well, because they can conduct authentic research with community input. “By sharing expertise, we have been able to implement and test novel care models to improve the health of Virginians.”

Referring to the video  produced for the award application, Ogbonna added, “As you can see, our community partnerships are much more than an agreement between two parties. … These types of partnerships withstand the test of time because they are not rooted in obligations or financial reciprocity; instead, they are bound by students and faculty learning to understand the person and not the patient.”

Representatives of the three other regional finalists — Oregon State University, Purdue University and the University of New Hampshire — also made presentations. (Learn more about their community engagement programs.)

About a month later – earlier this week — the announcement was made.

Upon hearing the news, Don Brophy said, “I am so proud of the department faculty who have dedicated their time and service to providing needed health care to the Richmond community.” Brophy is chairman of the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, which houses the PCOC program.

“It shows not only that VCU recognizes the important contributions made by the School of Pharmacy but adds to our national recognition,” he continued. “All the credit goes to the faculty and the students they mentor.”

The Mission of Mercy is one of many outreach projects in which pharmacy students have the opportunity to work with patients in need.

The Mission of Mercy is one of many outreach projects in which pharmacy students have the opportunity to work with patients in need.

Jeffrey C. Delafuente, associate dean for academic affairs, said, “We are thrilled to be the recipient of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award.  Community engagement has become part of our culture at the VCU School of Pharmacy, and we are honored to be recognized for the excellent work of our students and faculty.”

Sicat, the school’s vice chair for clinical services, said, “The real reward is to see how the reciprocal relationship between the school and our community partners has led to practice innovations, hands-on patient care experiences for our students, and community-engaged research to improve the health of so many.”

As Howard noted during the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, the School of Pharmacy’s Pharmacist Collaborative Care and Outreach in the Community program continues the tradition established with the medical college’s founding. It also advances – and will continue to advance — VCU’s mission “to create university-community partnerships that address the critical challenges of our time through research, teaching and service.”

“This is a terrific recognition of our efforts,” said School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph T. DiPiro, “and a great incentive to build these programs further.”