A Community Health Northwest Florida resident is a recipient of a $5,000 highly competitive research grant that will be used to help patients in underserved rural North Florida using antibiotics to treat infections.
Ryan Pinto, PharmD, is one of only eight people in the U.S. to receive the American Society of Health System Pharmacists® Foundation (ASHP) Pharmacy Resident Research Grant.
A Pensacola native, Ryan is working for one year at CHNWF as a resident as part of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (CoPPS, IPH).
With Pinto, Arinze Okere, FAMU CoPPS, IPH Professor Arinze Okere, PharmD, the grant’s senior investigator, Chief Pharmacy Officer Darrell Miller, PharmD, and Steven Bollen, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy at CHNWF, comprise the research team that will investigate the impact of an antibiotic stewardship program. This enables collaborative work with a doctor to ensure that patients receive appropriate antibiotics and improves the health of those with infections.
The University’s Durell Peaden Jr., Rural Pharmacy Education Campus has a partnership with CHNWF. The community clinic offers low to no-cost healthcare and is a Federally Qualified Health Center.
After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy from Auburn University, Pinto returned home to care for a familiar population. He says many of the people who visit the center’s pharmacy don’t have a primary care doctor.
“I’m honored and grateful to receive a grant that will have a direct impact on the people who may not receive this attention elsewhere,” said Pinto. “I’m learning a lot and enjoy working with the FAMU faculty and staff and the Community Health staff.”
The grant’s funding will provide resources and be used to hire a biostatistician to manage information obtained through surveys of providers and patients of Community Health Northwest Florida. The questionnaires will help determine what they understand about antibiotics and how they should be used to treat illnesses.
A priority for the research led by pharmacists is to educate the community about changes in guidelines and directions for taking antibiotics.
“Prescribing antibiotics has increased in the past 30 years and bacteria have become more adaptive to it. The normal antibiotics don’t always work. If we use guidelines and the appropriate medications and kill the infection, it doesn’t allow the bacteria to change so they don’t become resistant to the current antibiotics,” said Pinto.
Okere is the mentor to pharmacy residents at the center. Encouraging patients to ask pharmacists questions is another priority for residents because they often don’t have pharmacists to counsel them.
“Patients can experience side effects if given the wrong antibiotic which can lead to them going to the hospital. Our goal is to help prevent adverse effects from occurring,” said Okere.
Okere is optimistic about the study’s outcomes as a precursor to another sizable grant the center has applied for to widen research and reach.
The ASHP Foundation grant “supports quality health service research focused on practice advancement conducted by residents in ASHP-accredited pharmacy residency programs or by residents in pharmacy residency programs” who have applied for ASHP accreditation.
Photo: Darrell Miller, Community Health Northwest Florida Chief Pharmacy Officer; Steven Bollen, Community Health Northwest Florida Pharmacy Director; Ryan Pinto, Pharmacy Resident; Arinze Nkemdirim Okere, senior investigator, residency program director and research mentor