The Collaboratory – whose name stems from its role as a “laboratory for collaboration” – is a space created by ACPHS to work in partnership with local community-based organizations on programs aimed at improving the health of residents of Albany's South End and the surrounding neighborhoods. It opened to the public on September 13, 2018.
The 3,000 square foot project space is located at 3 Lincoln Square in Albany (Morton Avenue between Eagle Street and Elizabeth Street).
While a strong healthcare system is the foundation for healthy communities, there are social determinants of health that also need to be addressed. Factors such as housing, employment, education, nutrition, transportation, and the availability of community support groups are essential to one's overall health, but they too often suffer from a lack of attention and resources.
The College is committed to improving the health of our local communities through educating the next generation of health professionals and care providers to more effectively integrate medical and social services. The Collaboratory stands as a prototype of such a model of care.
partners AND PROGRAMS
Rapid Engagement and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH)
One of the first programs to be managed out of the Collaboratory will be the Rapid Engagement and Advocacy for Community Health program or REACH. Led by Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, the goal of the REACH program is to help Medicaid and Medicaid-eligible residents in the city of Albany make better and more consistent use of preventative healthcare services.
The REACH program works closely with residents to assist with health insurance facilitation, advocacy with health providers, and wellness services related to food and physical activity.
REACH is managed by an interdisciplinary team comprised of Trinity Alliance’s Resident Outreach Workers, Community Health Workers, students and faculty from ACPHS, and interns. Additional health and wellness partners in the REACH program include the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center and AVillage…, Inc.
Public Health Pharmacist Team
Increasingly, we are seeing public health problems that are tied to issues involving pharmaceuticals. The opioid epidemic and the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of infectious organisms are two such examples.
This Collaboratory-based project focuses on the interface between public health and pharmacy. With funds received through a grant from the Alliance for Better Health, ACPHS will form a Public Health Pharmacist Team based in the Collaboratory that will be made up of a pharmacist and two community members who will be trained as pharmacy technicians.
Operating in a fashion similar to a visiting nurse, the Public Health Pharmacist will meet with individuals with high medical needs in their homes or at the Collaboratory. They will consult with these individuals, and if possible, their families, to review the patient's medications and work on finding solutions to any medication related problems they may be having.
As part of this initiative, the Public Health Pharmacy Team will also be partnering with the Albany Damien Center, a community center for individuals and families living with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS. The Public Health Pharmacist team will work with patients identified by the Damien Center as those who are struggling to take their medications consistently.
The importance of this partnership with the Damien Center is underscored by the fact that, for HIV/AIDS patients, failing to take their medications as directed can lead to serious long-term health complications and increase the risk that they may transmit the disease to others.
Community Pharmacy and Walk-In Clinic
While addressing the social determinants of health is important, there are many instances where traditional health care services are required. For medication needs, residents may use College Parkside Pharmacy, a full-service pharmacy operated by ACPHS that opened in 2017 and which is located in the Capital South Campus Center, just steps from the Collaboratory.
Rounding out the service offerings will be a walk-in clinic that is being planned for the Capital South Campus Center. The clinic will be supervised by a nurse practitioner and will provide treatment of minor illnesses, preventative healthcare, and testing services.
The combination of the service offerings found in and nearby the Collaboratory makes this area a convenient "one stop shop" for many of the health needs of residents in the South End and the surrounding communities.
"unparalleled learning experience"
While the Collaboratory was created to benefit community members, it serves the dual purpose of providing ACPHS students with an unparalleled learning experience.
Since its opening, College Parkside Pharmacy has served as a site for ACPHS pharmacy students to gain hands-on experiences working with patients and understanding the operations of a community pharmacy.
With the Collaboratory, students from the College will also play key roles in the area's health and wellness, working alongside community health workers to confront real-life healthcare situations and helping devise solutions to these challenges. These students will be assisted by ACPHS faculty members and other social and medical workers as they learn how to work together in a unified team for the benefit of a community.
In the future, ACPHS faculty and students will use the Collaboratory to offer educational programs and services on subjects of relevance to the community. Topics being considered for these forums include asthma management, smoking cessation, and medication literacy.