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Monday, 27 February 2012 14:19

Ferris hopes pharmacy program drives collaboration

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Ferris hopes pharmacy program drives collaboration PHOTO: Mark Sanchez
GRAND RAPIDS — Setting up shop along the Medical Mile opens up the potential for Ferris State University’s College of Pharmacy to forge new partnerships in Grand Rapids.

The new $9.1 million College of Pharmacy Center for Innovation Learning and Research houses 150 third-year pharmacy students and serves as a home base for fourth-year students serving clinical internships in the area.

Housed in the seventh floor of an office building adjacent to Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, and across the street from the Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health, the pharmacy school now has proximity to potential partners that it didn’t have previously.

“This is where everything is happening with medical,” Ferris State President David Eisler said as he led a recent tour of the center. “It was where this college needed to be to integrate with the amazing medical center that’s been developed here.”

Ferris State opened the College of Pharmacy’s Center for Innovation Learning and Research in January and recently hosted a grand opening.

Eisler cites the potential to work with MSU on pharmacology classes that medical students must take and perhaps gain access to a simulation lab at the College of Human Medicine.

College of Pharmacy students for years have done clinical rotations at Spectrum Health and other care providers, and Eisler hopes to also partner with VAI research scientists to become involved with the school through peer mentoring, or through students becoming involved in research projects.

“They’ll develop relationships and partnerships over time that we can never imagine,” he said of the potential alliances with neighbors on the Medical Mile. “The way you start doing that is by getting everybody together.”

The Center for Innovation Learning and Research consolidates all third-year pharmacy students and their faculty in Grand Rapids. One-third of students were previously based in Kalamazoo, with the remaining students at another site in Grand Rapids.

“Until now, pharmacy really hadn’t been represented on the Medical Mile, so when you look at completing the range of health programs, this is a critical addition to a heath sciences corridor,” College of Pharmacy Dean Steve Durst said. “This center will allow us to concentrate our activities in one location that is a nexus for health care research and practice.”

Pharmacy students already are working with Cherry Street Health Services to help patients with multiple chronic conditions: hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. The program has helped 75 patients reach their treatment goals.

The Center for Innovation Learning and Research raises Ferris State’s presence in Grand Rapids, where the university this spring completes renovation of the former Federal Building in downtown for the 1,400-student Kendall College of Art and Design. Ferris also offers more than 20 degree programs in Grand Rapids through a partnership with Grand Rapids Community College.

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