Consultation and Wellness Center Marks a Decade of Collaborative Commitment

SPRINGFIELD — 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 Big Y World Class Market in Springfield.

Dr. Kam Capoccia, certified diabetes care and education specialist and clinical professor of Community Care, opened the center’s doors and continues today as its 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,” Capoccia said. “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 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 St., include health, wellness and prevention programs, smoking cessation, education and management of chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity), 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,” Capoccia said.

In the world of diabetes management, technology is changing daily. The center has the capability to download glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors, and insulin-pump data. “This data is incredibly helpful when discussing and evaluating diabetes management,” she added. “People with diabetes can download their data at home, share it with the pharmacist, and then meet virtually, utilizing telehealth and videoconferencing, 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.”

In 2014, the Consultation and Wellness Center received accreditation from the Assoc. of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists for its 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 also receive hands-on training. Students spend a six-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 credential of certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), and become faculty members at other universities.

“The center provides the opportunity for students and residents to see the pharmacist-as-educator role, designed to advance the practice of pharmacy and provide outreach to the communitym” Capoccia said. “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 e-mail wellness.center@wne.edu.