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SPRINGFIELD, MA (04/05/2021) In the fall of 2010, Big Y Foods, Inc. and the Western New England University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences partnered to create a faculty pharmacist run patient-centered Consultation and Wellness Center located at the Big Y World Class Market in Springfield. Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) and Clinical Professor of Community Care Dr. Kam Capoccia opened the Center’s doors and continues today as the Center’s director as it reaches its 10th year of operation.

“The goals of the Center are to provide clinical pharmacy services to the community, enhance patient care, and optimize therapeutic outcomes,” explains Capoccia. “The program provides diabetes education at no cost to people with diabetes and their caregivers and spouses.” The facility continues to be one of the largest pharmacy consultation and wellness centers in the region and is the first to be located within a supermarket. People in the community can make an appointment with a pharmacist who will work with the individual and their prescriber to optimize their care.

Free services offered at the Consultation and Wellness Center, located at 300 Cooley Street, include health, wellness and prevention programs, smoking cessation, education and management of chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight loss), personalized grocery walks, blood glucose evaluations, individualized patient care plans, and medication review. “We strive to be recognized as a leader by the community and patients as a wellness center of excellence,” says Capoccia.

In the world of diabetes management, technology is changing daily. The Center has the capability to download glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and insulin pump data. “This data is incredibly helpful when discussing and evaluating diabetes management. People with diabetes can download their data at home, share it with the pharmacist and then meet virtually (utilizing telehealth, and video conferencing) or in-person to discuss. If people are not able to download at home, they can come to the Center and the pharmacist will download it for them,” says Capoccia.

“I remember early on Dr. Capoccia telling me she had worn a [simulated] insulin pump for a week, like many people with diabetes do, to understand the experience,” says patient Chris Chamberlain-Puffer, who has been coming to the Center since 2011. “I was impressed with her level of commitment to her patients. And I continue to be impressed with her level of commitment as well as her knowledge of diabetes and drug treatment options. Kam and the Wellness Center are a bright star in my world. I feel supported on so many levels.”

In 2014, The Consultation and Wellness Center received accreditation from the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists for their Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support program. To date, there have been over 10,000 patient appointments and more than 1,800 people have received care and education at the Center.

Patients are not the only ones receiving education at the Center, pharmacy students and pharmacy residents receive hands-on training. Students spend a 6-week advanced pharmacy practice experience at the Center with faculty pharmacists as their preceptors. Post-graduate pharmacy residency training, which began in 2015, received accreditation from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists in 2020. Graduates from the program have developed new pharmacy services for Big Y, earned the certification of CDCES, and have become faculty members at other universities. “The Center provides the opportunity for students and residents to see the pharmacist-as-educator role,” says Capoccia. Designed to advance the practice of pharmacy and provide outreach to the community. The goal is to educate and train pharmacists to take this model to other communities and expand the practice.”

For more information or to make an appointment, call 413-796-2000 or email the Consultation and Wellness Center at wellness.center@wne.edu.

About the Consultation and Wellness Center:
The pharmacists at the Center include Dr. Capoccia, Dr. Katelyn Parsons, Clinical Associate Professor at WNE, Dr. Stephanie Cloutier, Pharmacist and CDCES at Big Y, and Dr. Abigail Henry, Pharmacist and PGY-1 Community-based Pharmacy Resident with WNE and Big Y. The Center is open three days a week by appointment only for visits in-person, by phone or video chat to people 18 years of age or older in the Springfield community. The pharmacists at the Consultation and Wellness Center focus on health and wellness. Services provided include smoking cessation, education and management of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight loss, personalized grocery walks, individualized patient care plans, and medication review. To make an appointment call 413-796-2000 or email the Consultation and Wellness Center at wellness.center@wne.edu.

Having just celebrated its Centennial, Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England serves 3,690 students, including 2,486 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the School of Law.