GRAND RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s presence in Grand Rapids continues to grow with the grand opening celebration for its College of Pharmacy Center for Innovational Learning and Research on Friday, Feb. 3. The new facility, located at 25 Michigan in the heart of Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile, supports the College of Pharmacy’s curriculum, which emphasizes early opportunities to experience professional practice.
“When people think of Ferris, they think of Pharmacy. It’s hard to walk into a pharmacy in Michigan and not find a Ferris graduate,” said Ferris President David Eisler. “We are very excited about the opportunities for collaboration with the Van Andel Institute, the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, the entire Spectrum Health System and others. The dedication will be a great day for Grand Rapids and a great day for Ferris State University.”
“We want to be near those other health care professionals so as to realize the benefit of inter-professional education,” said Steve Durst, College of Pharmacy dean. “This center will allow us to concentrate our activities in one location that is a nexus for health care research and practice.”
Ferris is home to the state’s only college of pharmacy outside of metro Detroit and has been graduating pharmacists since 1896. College of Pharmacy graduates play an important role in the profession in Michigan. The Michigan Pharmacy Association’s chairman, president-elect and eight of nine MPA board members hold degrees or certificates from Ferris’ College of Pharmacy.
Collaboration between the College of Pharmacy and Grand Rapids’ health care community was taking shape even before the college began using the 25 Michigan space in January. Ferris’ Pharmacy faculty and students have been working with Cherry Street Health Services on a project to improve the health of patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. The program has been successful in helping three-quarters of patients with uncontrolled hypertension reach their treatment goals, and has helped others make significant progress. Since as little as 5 percent of patients may account for half of all health care costs, such initiatives improve individuals’ quality of life and organizations’ cost-effectiveness.
Ferris’ move to expand learning and research in Grand Rapids will facilitate collaborations, create fresh opportunities for students and add a depth of pharmaceutical knowledge to the range of health care expertise contained in the Medical Mile.
“Until now, pharmacy really hadn’t really been represented on the Medical Mile, so when you look at completing the range of health care programs, this is a critical addition for a health sciences corridor,” Durst said. “We want to be near those other health care professions to enhance faculty and student interactions, and ultimately best serve the patient.”
George Heartwell, mayor of the city of Grand Rapids, is excited about the grand opening and the commitment Ferris State University has to the region.
“Ferris State University’s commitment to Grand Rapids’ expanding health sciences sector, by opening the College of Pharmacy Center for Innovational Learning and Research here, is yet more evidence of the strength of this public/public partnership,” he said. “I welcome the College of Pharmacy and look forward to future collaborations with Ferris.”
In addition to President Eisler, Dean Durst and Mayor Heartwell, others dignitaries scheduled to attend the grand opening of the new Innovational Learning and Research Center include
- Roy Schmidt, 76th District State House representative
- Sueann Walz, Ferris State University Board of Trustees vice chair
- Andrew Young, Ferris Pharmacy Alumni Association president
- Dr. Larry Wageknect, Michigan Pharmacists Association CEO
- Dr. Lucinda Maine, American Association of College of Pharmacy president
- Dr. Peter Coggan, Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners president and CEO
- Dr. Khan Nedd, Infusion Associates Medical director, and chair of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute
The new facility contains classrooms, a computer laboratory, office space for up to 15 faculty and staff members, conference rooms and a student lounge. Students will have 24-hour access to the resources of facility. The facility was designed by URS Corporation and furnished by Custer, both of Grand Rapids. Construction was handled by the Christman Company of Lansing.
Ferris’ downtown Grand Rapids presence will be expanded this spring when renovation of the historic Federal Building is completed to provide much-needed classroom, gallery and office space for the rapid growth of the university’s Kendall College of Art and Design. The university also has a strong educational partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, where more than 20 degrees are offered.