Andrew Straw, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Cedarville University and Residency Program Director, and Josh Willoughby, Pharmacy Resident from Cedarville at the Rocking Horse Center. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield’s Rocking Horse center adds pharmacy program

The Rocking Horse Community Health Center in Springfield is expanding its services to house the city’s first pharmacy residency program.

Once Cedarville pharmacy student, Josh Willoughby graduates in May, he’ll spend one year at Rocking Horse gathering information on patients and designing individual treatment plans to manage their medications.

“Pharmacy is an integral part of health care because if not understood clearly, medications can cause more harm than benefit,” said Medical Director, Dr. Yamini Teegala.

RELATED: Springfield health center adds dental care to fill unmet need

Based around the concept of a referral program, Rocking Horse patients can see a physician, who can then refer them to the pharmacy resident at the same site.

“Our patients that we serve here — the thing that’s most useful for them is to have all services under one roof,” Teegala said.

The center paired with Willoughby through a national match program. During the match, potential pharmacy residents rank their choices of where they would like to practice, and vice versa.

Both Rocking Horse and Willoughby ranked the other as a number one choice.

Dr. Andrew Straw, an assistant professor of pharmacy at Cedarville, will oversee the new residency program as director. Although there will not be a physical pharmacy at Rocking Horse, Straw said the services the program will provide are crucial.

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He said the resident will spend at least 40 minutes with each patient who is referred to them and walk through a comprehensive management plan. Pharmacy residents will also have the opportunity to improve existing services for patients and create new ones.

Willoughby said the one-on-one relationship was something that drew him to Rocking Horse unlike retail pharmacies where people don’t have a lot of interaction with the pharmacists behind the counter.

“I was really looking for a residency that would allow me to have a direct patient interaction,” Willoughby said. “One component of this residency is you actually get to have appointments with patients and spend time with them going through their medications.”

Willoughby mentioned that one of his goals during his time at Rocking Horse will be to improve Springfield’s low scores in state health outcome tests.

RELATED: Clark County ranks low in state for health

Clark County ranks near the bottom quarter of Ohio counties on a national health survey, but did improve three spots from last year’s ranking, a previous Springfield News-Sun article reported.

After a year, the residency program will restart with another pharmacy resident who matches with Rocking Horse.

Recently, Rocking Horse added dental care and increased addiction care to their services. The center serves over 13,500 patients at their four locations.

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