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Hometown Health Centers, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Open New York's First Student-Operated Pharmacy

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (March 30, 2016) — Regional civic and business leaders gathered today with political figures, including Congressman Paul Tonko, for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of College Hometown Pharmacy at Hometown Health Centers (HHC), a nationally recognized primary care and dental practice located at 1044 State Street, Schenectady, NY.

Ribbon Cutting

The pharmacy — the first student-operated pharmacy in New York state and one of only a handful of student-run pharmacies nationwide — features a full-time, licensed pharmacist who will supervise Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) students as they complete their bachelors, masters and doctoral of pharmacy programs.

“College Hometown Pharmacy is a win-win opportunity for everyone,” said ACPHS President Dr. Greg Dewey. “We are not only excited to provide a great service to a medically underserved community, but also give our students practical experience wrestling with real-world problems.

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 “Our students will gain hands-on experience in revenue, inventory turnover, break-even and pharmacy cash-flow analysis,” said Dewey, noting that practical experiences constitute 30 percent of each student’s course work. “They will also develop interprofessional teamwork skills, while learning how to run a pharmacy and interacting with patients in a medically disadvantaged area. These are the type of leadership and innovative business thinking skills they will need to hit the ground running following graduation.”

In addition to dispensing medications, the pharmacy will serve as a “collaboratory,” in which the college and the not-for-profit community health center will team up to offer an expanded range of medication management services associated with patient wellness, including medication therapy management, disease prevention, wellness counseling and screenings.

“We don’t want our students to be practice ready. We want to go beyond practice ready,” said Dewey. “We want them to be educated not just for today’s profession, but for tomorrow’s profession too.”

“It’s sensational,” said Hometown Health Centers CEO Joe Gambino. “We are taking our `patient-centered medical home’ model to the next level by conveniently offering primary medical, dental and behavioral health services under one roof. Now, as a result of this unique affiliation, patients will enjoy the convenience of comprehensive on-site pharmacy services.”

College Hometown Pharmacy is funded through ACPHS’s $6 million “Beyond Practice Ready” campaign, whose supporters include Rochester Drug Co-Op, Inc., MVP Healthcare, The Borisenok Family Foundation, Walgreens and the Wright Family Foundation.

A second student-operated pharmacy, “College Parkside Pharmacy,” will open later this year with support of the Albany Housing Authority. That facility, to be located in the South End of Albany, will feature a similar arrangement and provide a blend of pharmaceutical and medication management services.

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HHC, which offers family medicine, pediatric, obstetrical, gynecological, podiatry, specialty care, behavioral health and comprehensive dental and vision care, is a federally qualified community health center that is able to participate in the federal 340B drug program to obtain substantial discounts on medications in order to stretch scarce federal resources and provide comprehensive care and services to more medically underserved patients.

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