CPF puts its money where its mission is.
Now in its second decade, the Community Pharmacy Foundation (CPF) is a thriving virtual organization led by Chicago-based Executive Director Anne Marie (Sesti) Kondic, PharmD. Kondic assumed the helm from her father,
Anne Marie KondicLouis Sesti, RPh, now retired, who has also been the CPF grants administrator since 2004. Since the organization became operational in 2002, “CPF has awarded $6.6 million in support of 160 grants and several projects to individuals, universities, and associations,” said Kondic.
Back when the foundation was unknown, “My father was at a national pharmacy convention exhibit and wasn’t getting much attention,” Kondic recalled. “So he got a stack of fake money and stapled it all over the CPF booth with a banner that said, ‘We Give Away Grant Money!’”
In 2000, said Kondic, the original mission of the five founding members of the CPF board of directors was to award grants to fund studies and projects dedicated to advancing patient-care services provided by pharmacists, across community pharmacy settings. Recipients often include collaborations between pharmacy college faculty and local retail-chain and independent pharmacies.
Grant sums begin at $10,000-$15,000 and average around $40,000-$50,000, “although we have funded some in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Kondic said.
At the outset, one of CPF’s goals was to create a simple online submission process.
“We know people who apply are probably working full-time, and we want to eliminate any barriers and allow anyone to submit an idea, so we have a two-step process that is done entirely online,” Kondic said.
The first part, she continued, consists of a 12-item online application form, in which the applicant explains the project’s goals, objectives, duration, and collaborators, and estimates the amount of support money needed.
The board considers applications at each of its five meetings throughout the year. If the application receives board approval, the applicant is then invited to submit a more detailed online proposal. A maximum of 12 pages is permitted.
“We want new and innovative submissions, and we’re looking to see how the pharmacist will be collaborating with other healthcare providers and advancing the objectives of our mission statement. Our board has a checklist that asks several questions,” she said.
“For example, is the project sustainable once it gets going? What is the potential for transferability? In other words, can someone else use it in their respective environment? Everything the Foundation supports needs to be shared. Also, is it replicable; can someone pick it up and do it in their practice? These are pivotal aspects that must be met,” said Kondic.
Funmi OdukoyaOlufunmilola Kamilat “Funmi” Odukoya, BPharm, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. Now on her third grant, she is “very excited to see how we can engage children and their parents,” in her latest CPF-funded pediatric project.
“We learned since we started this project that most children are removed from the medication process in their healthcare. We’re excited by our funding, and our hope is to try and get community pharmacists to really learn to engage with children, especially those of adolescent age who are taking chronic medications and will be independently responsible for their medication-taking as they transition to college.”
With health problems of her own as a child and a sister who became a pharmacist, Odukoya developed a strong interest in helping young people become engaged in their treatment. She observed that responsibility for medications is usually left up to parents, but when children get involved and learn how medication is an important part of their care, it makes a difference to their health outcomes.
“Research has shown that kids with chronic disease are high users of medicine, and a lot of prescriptions are for kids and teens with chronic care needs, such as ADHD, diabetes, and asthma. But if children are not educated about their medications and parents take a hands-off approach, this can lead to poorer health outcomes for children,” said Odukoya.
She continued, “One young girl died of diabetes, because her insulin was not perceived as a ‘cool’ medicine and because she didn’t understand the crucial need for adherence and succumbed to peer pressure. She died of hypoglycemia. This is tragic. By helping pharmacists better engage with their young patients, we think we can help prevent these terrible outcomes,” she said.
“We’re collecting our project data in the Pittsburgh area, which includes one chain pharmacy, one independent pharmacy, and one independent pharmacy in a rural area in North Carolina,” Odukoya said.
Her latest CPF grant is allowing her to engage pharmacy students in research projects and data collection, such as conducting interviews with pharmacy staff, children, and parent participants.
“We are also observing and documenting in real time what’s happening when kids and/or their parents go into community pharmacies to pick up medicines. What types of medicines do they get? Do they [kids] have parents with them? What kinds of conversations do they have with the community pharmacists? Helping pharmacists become engaged with kids in medication counseling is the overarching objective,” Odukoya said, adding, “If you do a good job preparing them for this process, it will stay with them for life.”
This, she adds, results in desirable side benefits such as better adherence, prevention of medication abuse, reduced errors, and better patient safety.
Randy McDonoughIn Iowa City, Iowa, Randy McDonough, PharmD, MS, credits the Community Pharmacy Foundation as “a great partner for me as a practicing pharmacist.” He said CPF played an important role in his career as he entered the world of pharmacy ownership.
“At the time I was introduced to CPF I was leaving academia, and this led me to start thinking outside the box about the role of the community pharmacist.”
Now the co-owner and director of clinical services of the Towncrest Compounding Pharmacies group and recipient of four CPF grants, McDonough has employed his academic and corporate savvy to exceptional advantage.
“Each of these projects has helped me expand, promote, and/or reform community pharmacy practice,” he said.
CPF grants have allowed McDonough and his team to develop novel pharmacy practices that he described as responsive to changes in healthcare relating to the accountability mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They developed a clinical electronic documentation system called “PharmClin”; they devised pharmacist-patient interaction techniques; they remodeled the pharmacy to incorporate a lower counter; and they added semi-private and private counseling areas.
These strategies not only integrate the pharmacist’s role in real-time care, said McDonough. They also advance the goals of a value-based healthcare system offering high-quality care.
These innovations will be key elements of his latest CPF project, titled “Tracking Performance in a Contemporary Community Pharmacy Practice,” said McDonough.
“First, we will describe the workflow and innovative documentation system in a contemporary community pharmacy practice, where pharmacists conduct prospective drug utilization review [DUR] for every prescription dispensed. Then we will analyze the drug therapy problems identified, the actions taken, and the consequences of those actions taken as part of our prospective DUR. Third, we will conduct financial analyses of the prospective DUR-related activities. And finally we’ll put it all together and write a publishable empirical report on the findings of the analyses.”
McDonough’s previous three CPF-funded studies have all resulted in poster presentations and publications.
Thanks in part to CPF, he anticipates a bright future for community pharmacy. “I can honestly say I would not be where I am today if they had not been there to let me do these projects.”
Barbara Hesselgraveis a freelance writer in Baltimore, Md.