90 are filled each week from its formulary of 140 mostly generic
medications. A prescription assistance program is available for
The clinic, funded by grants and donations, primarily sees patients
suffering from chronic pain, diabetes, hypertension and infections,
impacts patient wellness by providing smoking-cessation coaching
and over-the-counter products, and ensures diabetes patients have
access to testing supplies that help them manage their own care.
“The clinic will supply diabetes patients with 15 or 16 cases of
glucometer test strips in the next year, and we’re averaging three A1C
tests a week, which will help these patients control their diabetes,”
Bates said. “We don’t just give them a product; we teach them how to
use it. This will prevent dozens of hospitalizations each year.”
The effort to provide access to life-saving medications complemented
by sound medical advice is why second-year Pharmacy student Carlee
Schafer wanted to volunteer at the clinic.
“Helping people is why I decided to pursue pharmacy as a career in
the first place,” said Schafer, of Mount Pleasant. “I have worked in
community pharmacy for many years now, and I have witnessed so
many patients struggling to pay for their medications or simply not
getting their prescriptions filled because they cannot afford them.
The Care Clinic’s bottom line is patient care, which is why I couldn’t
wait to get involved.”
Three students of varying experience typically work three-hour shifts
at a time in the clinic. Some have never set foot in a pharmacy and
are honing skills learned in the classroom, mentored by others who
have filled prescriptions and counseled patients regarding proper use
of their medications.
Bates hopes to make working in the clinic an elective rotation among
those required for the doctorate degree. He also hopes to affiliate
the Care Clinic with Ferris’ Interprofessional Wellness Clinic, a
collaboration of Optometry, Nursing and Pharmacy students and
faculty, to aid in diabetes management.
Volunteering has proven beneficial for Schafer, who wanted additional
experience counseling patients and simply to spend more time in a
“It is great to work with patients who are willing to listen and
grateful for any help you offer them,” she said. “The Care Clinic is
great for the community, because it allows access to healthcare for
those who have no affordable options. This can be life-changing for
some patients — think about a diabetic going without insulin simply
because they can’t afford to see a doctor or buy the medication.”
The clinic gives Ferris an opportunity to connect with the local health
care system and to serve people in the community students call home.
“It shows the community Ferris is bringing more than students to the
city of Big Rapids,” Schafer said. “It shows Ferris cares.”