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New Center for Pharmacy Innovation seeded by donors

by Clem Boyd, Communications Content Manager

When Dr. Marc Sweeney, dean of the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy, needed seed money for a new Center for Pharmacy Innovation, he didn’t have to look further than his own board of advisors.

Dave and Phyllis Grauer of Dublin, Ohio, have committed $250,000 to establish the Center for Pharmacy Innovation. In addition to this contribution, the Grauers also serve on the School of Pharmacy’s board of advisors, have taught at the school and have funded scholarships for pharmacy students.

The center opened January 1, 2018 and will use professional pharmacists’ expertise to improve healthcare in America.

“Our hope is to identify creative solutions to some of our most challenging problems in health care,” Sweeney said. “With the Grauers’ gift, we hope to attract additional donors who will commit to fostering innovation in pharmacy and health care.”

Dr. Justin Cole, who currently serves as vice chair of pharmacy practice, has been named director for The Center for Pharmacy Innovation. He will work to attract innovators and funding for pilot projects to address issues such as medication nonadherence, rising drug and healthcare costs, appropriate integration of technology, and new drug discovery. The center will collaborate with the Ohio Pharmacists Association, along with other organizations, to develop creative solutions to healthcare issues.

“We want to help professional pharmacists look for and identify areas in healthcare where they can play a key role in optimizing quality, reducing costs, and improving population health,” said Sweeney. “Not only are the president and Congress trying to address those issues, but solutions need to come from within the healthcare system as well.”

Traditionally, pharmacists have dispensed and monitored medications based on a physician’s prescription. “We’re not trying to create new roles in the dispensing process,” said Dave Grauer, an attorney and pharmacist. “But we can help create opportunities for pharmacists to use their drug and cognitive knowledge to further healthcare quality and efficiency.”

“We don’t want to supplant what’s there; we want to support it,” added Phyllis Grauer. “If you look at the environment of primary care physicians, there aren’t enough of them. Their knowledge base is very broad. Pharmacists can add a component to healthcare that can help primary care physicians be more efficient and support them as they work with patients for better outcomes.”

The Grauers cited an example from Phyllis Grauer’s pharmacist-based consulting service to hospice organizations. “At that point in 1999, physicians dispensed brand-name drugs for hospice care and tended not to look at drug therapy costs,” she explained. “We worked with hospice agencies to reduce medication costs, but also to help nurses become more knowledgeable about presenting recommendations to physicians.

“For example, there are three major types of pain,” Phyllis Grauer continued. “Assessing the type of pain is critical in determining which drug is most effective, and that’s the type of information we asked the nurse to assess. Then she would present her recommendation to the physician based on what she saw and the drug that was most appropriate for that kind of pain.”

“Pharmacists can do more with their drug knowledge and communication skills as a member of a team of healthcare professionals to help implement innovative healthcare delivery,” Dave Grauer said.

“We very much want to support Cedarville in any way we can,” said Dave Grauer. “This is a good way to do something new and creative around our Christian faith, the practice of pharmacy and creating opportunities for the future.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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