MISSOULA – The University of Montana Skaggs School of Pharmacy will hold a 14-day public comment period on the creation of the new L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation.
The Skaggs School of Pharmacy – the only pharmacy school in Montana – with support from The ALSAM Foundation, intends to establish the new L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation. Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the public comment process that will run through Oct. 5.
People can digitally provide public comment online. (https://bit.ly/2G0hwDa) The Skaggs School of Pharmacy will hold three virtual public listening sessions:
- UM students can participate from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23
- UM faculty and staff can participate from 3-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25
- The general public can participate from 3-4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29
“Montana is a large, rural state that constantly battles a shortage of health care providers and limited access to cutting-edge health innovations,” said Dr. Hayley Blackburn, assistant professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy.
“The new L.S. Skaggs Institute for Health Innovation will not only better prepare the next generation of health care professionals, but it will also ensure that families across Montana can access emerging innovations like telehealth and precision medicine,” said Dr. Erica Woodahl, a professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy.
Advances in precision medicine, like pharmacogenetics, use a patient’s genetic profile to choose the safest and most effective medications. Yet pharmacogenetic innovations to tailor medications have left Montanans almost entirely behind. Pharmacogenetics will be integrated into clinical services in the institute, and consultations will be offered statewide to healthcare professionals via telehealth and virtual access.
Woodahl is a leader in studying pharmacogenetics among rural and tribal populations, and the institute is poised to be the first in the country to deliver widespread adoption of pharmacogenetics in rural settings.
“The institute provides an exciting opportunity to expand access to pharmacogenetics for patients across the state and to train health professionals in this rapidly growing field,” she said.
While Montanans have previously recognized the value of telehealth to improve healthcare access, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of this healthcare delivery modality and the need for telehealth training for health professionals. The institute will provide interprofessional telehealth services across the state, while simultaneously providing hands-on training opportunities for pharmacy students and other students in the health professions.
“The institute will provide opportunities for interprofessional team-based care that would otherwise be inaccessible for many Montanans,” Blackburn said.
For more information and regular updates from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy, visit http://health.umt.edu/pharmacy/.
Contact: Erica Woodahl, professor, UM Skaggs School of Pharmacy, 406-243-4129, firstname.lastname@example.org; Hayley Blackburn, assistant professor, UM Skaggs School of Pharmacy, 406-243-6796, email@example.com.