MCW Pharmacy School

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Dean's Perspective: The Future of Pharmacy

Expanding Immunization Access in Wisconsin

Medical college of Wisconsin Partners with Pharmacy society of wisconsin

MADISON – Tuesday, November 21, 2017 – The Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW) and Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) announce a partnership project between the Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation and MCW to expand immunization access in Wisconsin. The partnership was recently awarded one of five funding investments through the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment to advance policy and systems change for health.

America’s Health Rankings and Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) data show the state of Wisconsin does not meet vaccination goals in many age and race demographics. Through this project work, the Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation will work with MCW’s School of Medicine - Department of Family and Community Medicine and the School of Pharmacy to address policies and systems that serve as barriers to patient access to vaccines. Policy and systems changes will include developing a consistent vaccination protocol and training, engaging pharmacists as immunizers enhancing the role pharmacists play in the medical neighborhood, and addressing claims policies, consequently leading to sustainable and expanded patient access to recommended vaccines. This aims to increase the number of vaccines administered, thus, reducing the prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases in Wisconsin. The AHW Endowment is providing $489,121 to support the 30-month project.

“Our goal of increasing access to immunizations in the state will result in better preventive care for patients and healthier communities,” said Kenneth G. Schellhase, MD, MPH, Professor of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine at MCW and Principle Investigator. “Better access to immunizations will reduce the health care costs of preventable illnesses.”

“Wisconsin’s pharmacists applaud the focus of the AHW Endowment on immunization rates and look forward to implementing meaningful solutions to improve access,” said PSW Vice President of Professional and Educational Affairs Sarah Sorum, PharmD. “Wisconsin pharmacists are well positioned to make a meaningful impact on public and population health initiatives.”

Evidence shows a significant number of individuals receiving vaccines in non-traditional settings, including pharmacies, do not have primary care providers. Equipping pharmacists with the tools needed to provide immunizations can help pharmacists play an important role in identifying those individuals without a medical home and can partner with medical practices in their communities to expand communication among providers, ultimately, improving patient care. 

Expanding Immunization Access in Wisconsin

“Pharmacists are one of the most accessible providers in the health care profession, uniquely positioned to provide care in medically underserved areas,” said George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh, Dean of the MCW School of Pharmacy. “The MCW School of Pharmacy will ensure that the health care provider, the pharmacist, has been educated and trained to extend the level of care in our diverse communities throughout the state. We are excited to partner with PSW, the School of Medicine and other partners to extend interprofessional training not only to pharmacy students, but to practicing pharmacists as well.” 

The AHW Endowment, stewarded by the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) School of Medicine, has invested more than $220M in 375 initiatives benefiting the health of the people of Wisconsin.  Expanding Immunization Access in Wisconsin is one of five initiatives recently awarded funds by the AHW Endowment to improve health totaling $2.1 million in funding, all working to change policy and systems to increase opportunities for people to more easily lead a healthy life.