College News

U of M proposal advances partnership with Duluth community health systems to prepare the future health care workforce in Greater Minnesota

The University of Minnesota is proposing to design and build a new academic health care center located in the Duluth Medical District. The initial focus will provide students an interprofessional education and practice in medicine and pharmacy, in collaboration with the two Duluth health care systems, Essentia Health and St. Luke’s. As part of the University’s 2022 comprehensive legislative request, $12 million has been proposed to conduct the design phase for the new academic health center facility. If approved by the legislature, building design could begin this summer.

Center for Allied Health Programs to join the College of Pharmacy

The College of Pharmacy has worked in collaboration with the Center for Allied Health Programs (CAHP), the Academic Health Sciences, and the Provost’s office to move the CAHP into the College of Pharmacy. The CAHP includes the medical laboratory sciences and occupational therapy programs. The CAHP, College of Pharmacy, and University leadership are excited about this new direction.  

“This collaboration will bring forth new opportunities for all of us,” said Dean Lynda Welage. “Importantly for the College of Pharmacy, it reaffirms our commitment to interprofessional education and practice while providing numerous new collaborations in our education, research, and community missions.” 

“We look forward to our new partnership with the College of Pharmacy, particularly the potential for new interprofessional opportunities in teaching, practice, and research, said Peggy Martin, PhD, OTR/L, program director for occupational therapy. “This transition comes as our first class of doctorally prepared students graduate to work in settings that support people to lead fully productive lives. As a founding member of the Center for Allied Health, we have seen the benefits of working with other professionals and look forward to learning more about how we can work with the College of Pharmacy to improve the health and wellness of our communities.”

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the University of Minnesota’s Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) Program,” said Donna Spannaus-Martin, PhD, MLS. “It seems appropriate, as we begin our second century, that we join with the College of Pharmacy to strengthen interprofessional education and new research collaborations. Communication between MLS and Pharmacy faculty has already resulted in ideas for possible collaborations.”

While the college and CAHP continue to outline the evolution of this collaboration, you can learn more about CAHP by visiting their website.

Minnesota Health Plan Summit on Medication Management - March 2022

On March 11, 2022, the College of Pharmacy, with support and collaboration from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), hosted the second Minnesota Health Plan Summit on Medication Management. Representatives from regional and national plans participated in the summit. Attendees included representatives from nine health plans, three pharmacist organizations, MDH, and the College of Pharmacy. This event was funded by the MDH, which has provided ongoing support to advancing pharmacist practice to improve the health of Minnesotans.

Our primary goals for these events are to create connections across payers to increase awareness of the opportunities and challenges in driving optimal value and in providing payment to sustain the value of medication therapy management (MTM) services provided by qualified pharmacists. Through increased collaboration, efficiencies for payment, documentation, and overall billing practices can be created for both payers and providers. We anticipate that increased efficiencies will increase the availability of MTM services to individuals across the state of Minnesota, with the result that more Minnesotans can achieve optimal medication outcomes.

In this second summit, the attendees heard presentations from Erik Bower, PharmD BCACP at UCare and Anita Sharma, PharmD, MBA, BCACP at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Both Drs. Bower and Sharma provided an overview of how their plans are building infrastructure to reimburse for MTM services through internal and external networks. Attendees also heard from Nancy Jorgenson, CPhT from HealthPartners, who presented on the work HealthPartners is doing to increase the consistency and quality of care across a network of pharmacist providers.

Following the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to meet in small groups to discuss a variety of topics, including plan design, incentivizing quality, and value of MTM services. Overall, it was an engaging, successful day, and we are currently planning next steps for this group.