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Dr. Marc Sweeney, Dr. Ernie Boyd, and Dr. Justin Cole signing the memorandum of understanding between the Ohio Pharmacists Association and Cedarville's Center for Pharmacy Innovation.

Partnership Will Explore New Horizons for Pharmacists and Patients

by Clem Boyd, Communication Content Manager

New research will make connection between provider interviews and healthcare choices. Cedarville University’s Center for Pharmacy Innovation, the Ohio Pharmacists Foundation (OPF) and the Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA) began a groundbreaking partnership to advance the expanding role of the pharmacist in American health care. The agreement was signed March 4 and is expected to take effect in April.

Cedarville, OPF and OPA signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between Cedarville’s Center for Pharmacy Innovation (CPI) and the OPF/OPA’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

The new relationship will develop training for pharmacists and student-pharmacists to create viable, sustainable business models, provide a partner for OPA pilot programs where students and pharmacists can carry out initiatives to improve patient care and facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas between Cedarville faculty, students and Ohio pharmacy leaders.

— Marc Sweeney

“Two organizations can accomplish more when they work together,” noted Dr. Marc Sweeney, dean of the Cedarville school of pharmacy. “We will be aligning ourselves so that as we identify projects and opportunities where we need more manpower or we need to brainstorm on how projects are to be implemented, we would work together to do that.”

“Both OPA and the Center for Pharmacy Innovation share the goal of developing both pharmacists and student pharmacists into the next innovators and entrepreneurs in healthcare,” commented CPI’s director, Dr. Justin Cole. “I believe this strategic partnership will synergize these efforts.”

Each organization brings unique capabilities that will create stronger outcomes in entrepreneurship and innovation. “We teach people how to run a business,” noted Dr. Ernie Boyd, executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. “We teach how to take clinical information that students have learned in pharmacy school and actually make it work in the market. What I noticed is that we’re not as good at reaching out and working on grants and projects and engaging some of the most cutting-edge research. So when Dr. Sweeney and I started talking, it became pretty clear we each have strengths.”

Boyd noted that patients will be the big winners from this new collaboration. “When most people think of a pharmacist, they think of counting trays and that sort of thing, but with the Doctor of Pharmacy education that they’re providing here at Cedarville and our other six colleges around the state, these pharmacists are capable of much, much more. What’s most important about this collaboration is what it’s going to do for the patients in the state of Ohio.”

Cedarville is the only school in a partnership of this kind with the OPA/OPF Center for Entrepreneurship, Sweeney explained. “I have also met and discussed this agreement with the other Ohio pharmacy deans,” he said. “The OPF foundation board, the OPA leadership and the deans for the Ohio colleges of pharmacy have expressed their support and advocacy for this relationship.”

Sweeney is excited about how this partnership will benefit Cedarville school of pharmacy students. “If you’re interested in being an entrepreneur or an innovator, this alignment will afford opportunities that are unique to our school of pharmacy,” he said.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 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, including its Doctor of Pharmacy program, 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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