In what is believed to be the first program of its kind in New York State, ACPHS has launched The Collaboratory in Albany’s South End; literally a “laboratory for collaboration,” the site will provide a range of programs and services aimed at improving the health of area residents.
Located on the ground floor at 3 Lincoln Square, the 3,000-square-foot facility, whose space has been donated by the Albany Housing Authority, consists of open project space for local community organizations to collaborate on health and wellness initiatives. As such, it will serve as a healthcare hub for more than 9,000 South End residents, many of whom have unmet medical needs. The Collaboratory is an extension of ACPHS’ College Parkside Pharmacy, a full-service pharmacy operated by the College that opened in 2017 and is located in the nearby Capital South Campus Center.
“The goal of The Collaboratory is to provide convenient access to health assessments, screenings, wellness counseling, and nutritional education in a part of the city where few or none of these resources exist,” said ACPHS President Greg Dewey, Ph.D. “These services will target the social determinants of health and help facilitate healthy communities by increasing knowledge of, and improving access to, the healthcare system. By partnering with community-based service organizations, we seek to develop a holistic approach to neighborhood healthcare.”
Collaboration with community partners is central to The Collaboratory’s mission. Toward that end, the facility will serve as the home base for Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region’s Rapid Engagement and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH) program. Through the program, an interdisciplinary team of Trinity’s community health liaisons and health workers, ACPHS students, and paid interns will assist local residents with questions related to health insurance, medications, transportation, food and exercise, advocacy with health providers, and Trinity’s wraparound services that target the whole person.
“Our REACH team will make sure that area residents have health insurance, are satisfied with their health insurance plans, and have access to a primary care doctor,” explained REACH Director Sara Adams. “They will also provide information on how to connect with specialists, where to obtain preventive health screenings, and how to better understand one’s medications. Additionally, staff will help ensure that transportation is not an obstacle to care so that visitors to The Collaboratory can prosper independently.”
Space has also been carved out in The Collaboratory for classrooms and private counseling spaces where ACPHS faculty members, students, pharmacists, and community health workers can host informational sessions spanning a range of health related topics. Plans include forums on subjects such as asthma management, smoking cessation, nutrition, and medication literacy.
Through funding provided by a grant from Alliance for Better Health, The Collaboratory will also house a Public Health Pharmacist Team that will be comprised of a pharmacist and two community members who will be trained as pharmacy technicians. This team will work closely with patients with high medical needs from the community, in addition to partnering with the Albany Damien Center, a community center for those affected by HIV/AIDS. Through this partnership, the Public Health Pharmacist Team will work to find solutions for patients identified by the Damien Center as those who are struggling to take their HIV/AIDS medications as prescribed.
“The physical health of a person is integrated into every domain of life — nutrition, transportation, housing, employment, education, and literacy,” added Trinity CEO Harris Oberlander. “What we’re trying to do through The Collaboratory is create a continuum of care that is pushed forward in the community that makes for a more productive conversation between residents in Albany’s South End and the medical profession.”
The Collaboratory was one of four components of the College’s $6 million “Beyond Practice Ready” campaign, which was designed to prepare students to not only learn core professional skills, but also be adaptable to a changing workforce landscape. The campaign, which recently concluded, also supported the opening/operation of two student-operated pharmacies and three active learning classrooms.
The REACH program is funded by Alliance for Better Health and the Hortense and Louis Rubin Community Health Fund via The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. REACH is a partnership between Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, A...Village, Inc., and the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center.
About Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) is a private, independent institution with a long tradition of academic and research excellence. The College is committed to educating the next generation of leaders in the health care professions and translating scientific discoveries into therapies that benefit humankind. In separate reports by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and the Brookings Institution, ACPHS was named the #1 value-added college in the country. The College has campuses in Albany, NY, and Colchester, VT. For more information, please visit acphs.edu.
About Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region
The mission of Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region is to provide services to the community that will support and promote healthy families, adults and children. The agency is dedicated to improving the neighborhood as a setting for family life, contributing to health and well-being and promoting education and employment as a means of self-development. For more information, please visit TrinityAllianceAlbany.org.