Valparaiso's Lynn Thoma, PharmD is the Director of Pharmacy for HealthLinc Community Health Center. She serves as President of the Indiana Pharmacists Association and supports the NWI community as board member of Hilltop Neighborhood House. She's been a pharmacist in this area since 2012 and as a new wife and mom she's hoping to inspire others to support the community all while advancing the pharmacy profession and continuative patient care. We sat down with Lynn to hear a little about how her team is out to change the face of healthcare in Northwest Indiana.
Q: So Lynn, you are not originally from Northwest Indiana so what brought you here?
A: I attended Purdue University College of Pharmacy and upon entering their residency program I matched with a NWI based company, Fagen Pharmacy. Following my residency I stayed on with the company to open a new pharmacy location inside of HealthLinc Valparaiso. As the pharmacist in charge of that location, it opened the door to eventually accept a position, years later within their establishment.
Q: Your residency program lasted one year, but what made you stay upon completion?
A: Fagen Pharmacy had a deep commitment to their patients and especially the community as a whole. There was an opportunity to build clinical services in the pharmacy industry particularly in regards to diabetes management. My residency stint was at the N. Calumet location in Valparaiso and I was privelaged to have been placed under Marjie Laciak, their residency director who's passion for patients and diabetes care had a profound impact on my career. I followed her philosophy of always putting the patient first and I wanted to apply those same values into a community I had grown to love. I love how community driven HealthLinc was and aimed to broaden their reach with adding pharmacy services.
Q: The pharmacy program wasn't something that previously existed at HealthLinc, how did this program come about?
A: It started in November of 2015 when HealthLinc was accepted for an expansion of services grant and with that the addition to add a clinical pharmacist to their practice.
Q: Since then, what does the pharmacy program look like today?
A: We started the residency program in collaboration with Purdue College of Pharmacy in July of 2016 and each resident since has been hired on to staff as part of the clinical team in Valparaiso, Michigan City, Mishawaka, East Chicago and South Bend. I was the original staff member in the expansion, we've since opened a retail pharmacy in Valparaiso as of November of 2019 we're serving areas all across NWI with a team of 15.
Q: Having a pharmacist in a physician setting isn't common in NWI, can you explain the benefit having one provides?
A: All of our clinical pharmacists are extensively trained in diabetes care as well as common medical conditions such as asthma, COPD, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So with that they're able to assist physicians with prescribing medications when necessary and provide patients with extensive education about living with their condition outside of the office.
Q: You mentioned the addition of a retail pharmacy in 2019. Is it just in the Valparaiso location of HealthLinc?
A: Yes, for now. HealthLinc Pharmacy offers the obvious services like medication dispensing, synchronizing, compliance packaging and vaccines as well as discounted medication program for the HeathLinc patients. The Mishawaka pharmacy opens April 7 and we're excited to expand in patient care in the future.
HealthLinc seeks to improve its communities by expanding access to exceptional health care. They're serving Northwest Indiana with locations in Valparaiso, Michigan City, LaPorte, Knox, East Chicago, Mishawaka and South Bend. For more information on services head over to their website here.