The Collaboratory

The Collaboratory provides programs and facilitates community partnerships aimed at improving the health and wellness of residents in Albany's South End and the surrounding neighborhoods.

overview

The Collaboratory – whose name stems from its role as a “laboratory for collaboration” – is a space created by the College to work in partnership with local community organizations on programs aimed at improving the health of residents in the surrounding Albany neighborhoods. It represents an extension of College Parkside Pharmacy, a nearby pharmacy also operated by ACPHS which opened in 2017.

The Collaboratory is located at 3 Lincoln Square in Albany's South End (Morton Avenue between Eagle Street and Elizabeth Street). It opened to the public on September 13, 2018. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am - 5 pm. Appointments can also be made by calling (518) 487-4117.

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 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.

Collaboratory Diagram.JPG

partners AND PROGRAMS

Wellness Advocates Linking Communities (WALC)

One of the first programs to be managed out of the Collaboratory is the Wellness Advocates Linking Communities (WALC). Led by Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, the goal of the WALC 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 WALC program works closely with residents to assist with health insurance facilitation, connection to preventative healthcare, and wellness services related to food and physical activity.

WALC is powered by an interdisciplinary team comprised of Trinity Alliance’s Community Health Workers and Community Health Liaisons. Additional health and wellness partners in the WALC 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 has formed a Public Health Pharmacist Team based in The Collaboratory that is made up of a pharmacist and two community members who have been trained as pharmacy technicians. 

The Public Health Pharmacist meets with individuals from the community who have high medical needs. These meetings may take place in the patient's home or at The Collaboratory. The pharmacist consults with these individuals, and if possible, their families, to review a patient's medications and work on finding solutions to any medication related problems they may be having. 

As part of this initiative, The Collaboratory is also 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 works 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.

College Parkside Pharmacy

While addressing the social determinants of health is important, there are many instances where traditional health care services are required. For medication needs, area residents may use College Parkside Pharmacy, a full-service, community pharmacy operated by ACPHS that opened in 2017 and which is located in the Capital South Campus Center, just steps from the Collaboratory.

The pharmacy accepts most major health insurance plans and provides free local deliveries throughout the community.

Operating similar to the model of a teaching hospital, College Parkside Pharmacy provides pharmacy services to patients in the neighboring communities while at the same time providing pharmacy students at the College with opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience.

In addition to dispensing medications, the Pharmacy has a private counseling room where patients can receive additional health services such as blood pressure screenings and immunizations.

    unparalleled learning experienceS

    While The Collaboratory and College Parkside Pharmacy were created to benefit community members, they serve the dual purpose of providing ACPHS students with unparalleled learning experiences. 

    At College Parkside Pharmacy, ACPHS pharmacy students assist the pharmacist with delivering patient care as they learn about the operations of a community pharmacy.

    With The Collaboratory, students from the College 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 are assisted by ACPHS faculty members and other social and medical workers as they learn how to work together as part of a unified team for the benefit of the 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 for these forums may include asthma management, smoking cessation, and medication literacy.

    FUNDING SUPPORT

    Support for The Collaboratory has been generously provided by organizations that include: Alliance for Better HealthSeymour Fox Memorial Foundation, and TD Charitable Foundation.