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College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Studies Collaborative Effort to Bolster Rural Health Care Access


A Ferris State University College of Pharmacy alumna has received grant support to pursue research into pharmacist-physician collaboration. The goal is to improve cardiovascular care in rural communities.

Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Science Michelle Sahr received a $52,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. She was already active in research activities as a member of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation’s Faculty Scholars 2020-21 cohort.

“Identifying the community pharmacy that will serve as the base for our study is underway,” Sahr said. “It could be an independently-owned operation or a chain outlet. The key is we take this up in a rural community where residents are categorized as underserved by health care professionals and facilities.”

A key consideration in Sahr’s study is determining how potential users view point-of-care testing and pharmacist consultation.

“The goal is to work toward improved patient outcomes, through greater ease of access in underserved communities,” Sahr said. “There will be information gained from those who would be offered these services, along with interviewing the health care professionals in our study community. We are hoping to build on earlier research funded by the state of Michigan with greater emphasis on increased access to care.”

Sahr, who earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Ferris in 2016, is also a co-investigator in a College of Pharmacy study supported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In that research effort, she is working with lead investigator Professor Michael Klepser, also from the Ferris College of Pharmacy, to explore pharmacy-based testing of patients and monitor hypertension and dyslipidemia. That study is in the implementation phase, with collaboration from the pharmacy in the Manistee Meijer.

“I am thrilled to begin this research, with thanks to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs here at Ferris, for their assistance with budget development and project planning,” Sahr said.