Conveniently located pharmacies foster healthier communities. But one in three urban neighborhoods is a pharmacy desert, meaning people there have no options for filling prescriptions within a half mile of their home without transportation—or a mile if they have cars.
“A mile may not seem like much, but if you don’t have a car and have problems walking, bus connections are bad, the weather is inclement, the neighborhood is dangerous, and you have a child who needed that antibiotic yesterday for a raging infection, a mile can be impossible,” says Associate Professor Dima Qato, who coined the term “pharmacy desert” and serves as Hygeia Centennial Chair and at the USC Mann School.
COVID-19 and economic pressures have worsened the situation. Large pharmacy chains are closing their less-profitable outlets. Independent pharmacies are endangered by the increasing vertical integration of such chains with insurance providers and pharmaceutical benefit managers. This gives chain pharmacies a market power that their smaller counterparts cannot match.
To help remedy this situation in our home city, the school plans to open the USC South Los Angeles Pharmacy. This facility will expand our mission of service, provide professional experience to our students and widen the range of our healthcare research.
Replacing a Desert with an Oasis
We invite you to become a philanthropic investor in this life-changing enterprise aimed at greening one of the nation’s most pronounced pharmacy deserts.
The facility will be reconfigured to the most advanced standards to feature services including:
- patient-centered disease state and chronic care management
- vaccination and clinic site
- pharmaceutical care management for safety-net clinic patients
- psychosocial services for cancer patients
- health and wellness education for the community
- research on patient outcomes and other health-enhancing investigations
The site will also serve as a hub for the California Right Meds Collaborative (CRMC), headed by Associate Dean Steven Chen, the William A. and Josephine A. Heeres Chair in Community Health. The CRMC confronts chronic disease by expanding the role of pharmacists in partnership with payers to improve medication adherence.
In addition, the USC South Los Angeles Pharmacy will provide yet another valuable training site for our students. PharmD candidates will build frontline experience under the careful tutelage of alumni preceptors graciously volunteering their time and expertise.
Prescription for Success
In a time when market consolidation threatens pharmacies that value service over profit, the USC South Los Angeles Pharmacy will serve as a model for rejuvenating the community pharmacy. But even that is just the beginning—even as it accomplishes so much more in terms of clinical services, research and training.
Yet we must still raise the resources to unlock the facility’s doors to improved community health. Please join us in this powerful enterprise that deepens pharmacy’s impact and expands the field’s promise.
Whether you give money, time or in-kind donations, your generosity will help us make Los Angeles a healthier place for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Together, let’s apply that Trojan Spirit to bringing the USC South Los Angeles Pharmacy from blueprints to completion.
Contact Cheryl Stanovich, chief development officer, at email@example.com to learn more.