College of Pharmacy Students Receive Grant to Help Nevada Patients

Cherry Ann Castanaga

Two Roseman University Doctor of Pharmacy students received holiday gifts a bit early – Cherry Ann Castanaga and Karissa Mendaros recently learned that the grant projects they had submitted in partnership with Dignity Health/St. Rose Community Health Team to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Chronic Disease Division with the CDC were approved.

It all started when Dr. Kaylynn Bowman, a Roseman Class of 2007 alumna and now the Clinical Pharmacist with Roseman Medical Group, shared the grant opportunity with students. Despite the considerable workload involved with being PharmD students, Karissa and Cherry Ann took the initiative to develop projects and submit proposals.

Cherry Ann’s project involves creating a toolkit that will serve as a resource guide for pharmacists to provide diabetes counseling to patients in Nevada. The grant will allow her to research and compile information about DSMES services in Nevada that is scattered throughout many different areas and websites, helping pharmacists who may not be aware of all the resources or requirements. “She’s focusing on what laws pharmacists need, what training they need, how to get listed as an ADA-recognized or AADE-accredited program, and how to get reimbursed for providing such services,” said Dr. Ken Kunke, Director of Experiential Education IPPE at Roseman. Cherry Ann said, “I know that this diabetes toolkit is needed in Nevada so that pharmacists can take care of patients. I am excited to get started on it.”

Karissa Mendaros

Karissa Mendaros also received a grant for her project to increase the number of pharmacists providing medication therapy management (MTM) to diabetes patients in Nevada. Dr. Kunke will oversee Karissa’s efforts. Karissa said, “Our grant is a year-long project where we will do Medication Therapy Management (MTM) on a monthly follow-up basis on patients with Type 2 diabetes from community pharmacies. There is a shortage of physicians in Nevada, yet there are thousands of pharmacists who are seeing these patients routinely!”

“I went to UNR for my undergrad degree, and the drive from Las Vegas to Reno is seven hours of passing through small towns. I learned that people would have to drive very far to see their medical specialists, if they even have one. I thought it would be a great idea to utilize pharmacists in addressing the shortage of healthcare accessibility in rural areas. We are, after all, the drug experts and we also build great rapports with patients since we see them often and help resolve their insurance issues. Retail pharmacists are so knowledgeable and well trusted by their community,” Karissa added.

Congratulations to Karissa and Cherry Ann, and thank you to Dignity Health’s St. Rose Community Health Team for partnering with Roseman students on these important projects focused on improving the health of our neighbors throughout Nevada.