How UC pharmacy gives back, makes urban impact

Charitable residency program provides novel pharmacy postdoc training, care for underserved

When it comes to charitable collaborations, University of Cincinnati’s Bethanne Brown is usually front and center. 

Brown, professor of pharmacy practice and residency program director in UC’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, sees pharmacy outreach as a privilege. One of the many ways she makes a difference is directing UC's Post Graduate Year-1 Pharmacy Residency Program in collaboration with St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Charitable Pharmacy — a last resort safety net pharmacy for those who have no other way to access their prescription medications. 

“Since 2013, the charitable pharmacy residency program has been a triple win for St. Vincent de Paul pharmacy mentors, postdoc pharmacy residents and our local underserved communities,” says Brown. “Through this very competitive residency program, we match top pharmacy graduates from across the country with our local St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy locations at the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center and the Western Hills Thrift Store.”

Unlike a traditional community pharmacy residency, Brown says this program effectively trains new graduates to care for underserved populations.  

The benefit to the resident is combining five years of work experience into just one year of intensive mentored training. Pharmacists are able to work side by side with the residents increasing SVDP's ability to provide disease state management and care, while also providing needed presecription medications at no cost. 

Residents are also tasked with completing three projects during their residency including a business plan, a quality improvement proposal and a research project. Brown’s collaborative residency program is an outstanding example of the academic excellence and urban impact platforms that are an integral part of UC’s Next Lives Here strategic direction. 

While residents in this program typically earn half the regular salary of a pharmacist, Brown claims the one-year experience takes the resident one step further toward pushing the practice forward while providing care to an underserved population.  

Driving need for funding

Pharmacists administer COVID testing to people at an outdoor table.

Photo/Jakayla Toney/Unsplash

“As a charitable pharmacy, St. Vincent de Paul is the oldest charitable pharmacy operating in Ohio,” says Brown. “Two others were started later; one in Columbus and the other in Canton and they all rely on critical funding and charitable support.” 

While funding the program has been a challenge, Brown has successfully set up a support fund through UC Foundation. Other support comes from local pharmacy organizations, a grant from the Kennedy Foundation and other private organizations Brown has garnered through her outreach efforts. 

“We’re very proud of the care these residents and pharmacists provide to our local underserved populations,” says Brown. “In order to qualify for this program, patients have to apply every six months. Special social workers vet the patients so they can qualify to get their medications for free. It’s all based on economic need, medication expenses and family size.” 

After meeting with the pharmacist or pharmacy resident, patients also receive disease state management and if needed, behavior change modification, adds Brown. 

This collaboration successfully contributes to the continued training and mission of our college to lead, care and transform the next generation of pharmacy leaders.

Bethann Brown UC professor of pharmacy practice and residency program director

“The idea for this program started 15 years ago to help supply expensive insulin to people in need,” says Brown. “They suggested we start this residency program to implement better ways to help pharmacists manage important healthcare projects and train residents to be leaders and provide care for underserved populations.”  

Because the residency program is open to pharmacy students nationally it remains very competitive. While Brown sees an ongoing need for outside support, donations such as a recent Sisters of Charity grant help to continue the charitable residency program.  

“As we work to maintain the value of this critical program, we hope to close the funding gap between the college and the practice partner,” says Brown. “This collaboration successfully contributes to the continued training and mission of our college to lead, care and transform the next generation of pharmacy leaders.” 

To support the Charitable Pharmacy Residency Program fund, you can give here or contact Toni Evans, development coordinator, at or call 513-556-6712.


More about Bethanne Brown’s community impact 

UC College of Pharmacy and Walgreens partner to educate specialty pharmacists

College of Pharmacy adds new practice partner


Featured image at top: Bethanne Brown, PharmD. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.

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