Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 10/31/2013
FAMU's new health center a model for outreach
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 10/30/13
View Original Article
By Doug Blackburn
It’s one thing to provide medical care for the under-served. It’s a far better endeavor to add social services to that care.
That is Michael Thompson’s goal. The dean of Florida A&M’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Thompson believes he has designed a model that will bring better care to the less well-off citizens of Leon and Gadsden counties.
Thompson, director of FAMU’s newest entity, Center for Health Equity (CHE), has designed a multi-disciplinary approach to caring for the under-served that brings in faculty and staff from multiple departments at FAMU, from public health to nursing to psychology and social work.
“Health care functions in silos, and universities function in silos. My hope was that we could put these silos together and do something meaningful with patient care,” Thompson said.
FAMU has a long history of involvement in health-care outreach. With CHE, Thompson wants to improve and enrich the work already being done.
For example, pharmacy professor Otis Kirksey has been active for many years at Neighborhood Health Center in Frenchtown, primarily screening for diabetes and providing preventive care. He also takes pharmacy students with him. Now, thanks to CHE, Kirksey will also be accompanied by researchers who will collect data on the clinic’s patients.
This ties into the three core principles at CHE: research, education and community service.
“Our goal is be a magnet for research dollars and care for the under-served,” Thompson said. “We also want the center to have a huge educational component where we are teaching our students to work together to solve patient problems.
“If someone comes in to a clinic with HIV or a diabetes diagnosis, it’s not enough to prescribe proper medication. You need to include a social worker who can sit down with the patient and address the myriad lifestyle issues they are coping with,” he added.
Larry Robinson, FAMU’s interim president, said he appreciates the positive twist Thompson has taken to addressing what is usually referred to as “health care disparities.’ ”
“I really like the approach Dean Thompson has taken where he sort of flipped it from disparity to equity, focusing on it from a positive perspective,” Robinson said. “We need to recreate equity within that arena. We need to do that with the appropriate internal team in terms of collaborations as well as those external stakeholders who care about this as much as we do.”
FAMU already is in partnership with the Tampa-based Florida-Caribbean AIDS Education Training Center, and Thompson wants to expand on what the university is doing with that nonprofit agency. Thanks to HCE, FAMU’s funding from that agency has increased from $22,000 to $92,000, allowing FAMU to add a position and expand offerings, Thompson said. He wants to relocate the HIV-AIDS center on campus to an appropriate location in the community.
“I think the thing that’s important is we want to be a real center for research,” Thompson said. “It’s important for these models to have sustainability.”