25 Dec 2019 A Dream to Provide Pharmacy and Wellness Services to the Underserved
by Shadreka McIntosh, Ph.D., Sozo Wellness Pharmacy
Note: This is part of a series of columns written by members of the Second Muse cohort working in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in Collaboratory. SecondMuse is a company that helps support and nurture “homegrown” entrepreneurs. These are people from our community that are working hard to establish or grow businesses here in our neighborhoods. They have identified needs in our marketplace and are standing up companies to meet them, while strengthening our community. SecondMuse and the Foundation believe that people are the core of our economy and that is an important step in Southwest Florida philanthropy, to help people establish businesses here, to create jobs here and keep the talent and enterprise here.
Growing up, I remember regular trips to the pharmacy with my grandmother, who was a diabetic and suffered from every complication of the disease. She was a double amputee, had vision problems, as well as heart and kidney issues. Those visits to the pharmacy were very often and I got to observe how much she trusted the pharmacist. From as far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to help others be at their best. Ultimately, my path led me to becoming a pharmacist. With over 15 years in pharmacy practice, I am viewed as trustworthy and have been able to serve people in various ways.
Owning my own pharmacy has been a dream so that I can help even more people in many more ways. Sozo Wellness Pharmacy is an integrative pharmacy that will empower people to become whole in mind, body, and spirit through health education and accessibility to holistic and conventional therapeutic options. Sozo Wellness Pharmacy will be located in the Dunbar Community of Fort Myers and will primarily serve this community, as well as the downtown Fort Myers area. It is important to me to open Sozo Wellness Pharmacy in the Dunbar community because it is the place that contributed so much to who I am today. I am a 4th generation native of Dunbar and my desire to contribute to growth in the community is deeply rooted. When Sozo Wellness Pharmacy opens, it will fill a gap that has long been present in this area of healthcare services. There is no pharmacy within a 2.5 mile radius of the 33916 zip code. The opening of this pharmacy has the potential to ultimately improve the health and economic outcomes of the community for generations.
Sozo Wellness Pharmacy will serve as an advocate for patients as they transition through the healthcare system, which will lead to decreased hospital readmissions and utilization of the local healthcare system. We will also provide education on the appropriate use of medications and help to decrease barriers related to medication accessibility (cost, lack of understanding, transportation, etc). Urgent care visits will also be available at the pharmacy. A healthcare provider (physician assistant or nurse practitioner) will be onsite to provide these services, as an effort to minimize emergency room visits.
Wellness services provided by Sozo Wellness Pharmacy are affordable mind/body therapeutic options such as meditation classes, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. These therapies are proven to be effective and reduce medication use, however, they are usually inaccessible to low socioeconomic populations, due to lack of exposure or cost. We will also have affordable, convenient, healthy, nutrition alternatives available such as a smoothie/juice bar and take-out meals. A teaching kitchen for cooking demonstrations of healthy, culturally relevant dining options is another planned feature of the wellness center.
I am grateful to have been in the first SecondMuse cohort here in Southwest Florida. I appreciate them for providing an environment of likeminded individuals, a space where I could be transparent and held accountable, as I am on the journey to entrepreurship. This experience has significantly built my confidence in this endeavor. Through the cohort, I have been provided with a knowledgeable business mentor that is advocating for me behind the scenes. With this team behind me, I have no doubt that Sozo Wellness Pharmacy is destined for success and sustainability. I hope my dream will become a reality here very soon.
About SecondMuse and its Partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
SecondMuse is an international company that collaborates with visionary governments, corporations, foundations and startups to build 21st-century economies. At the core of our economies are people, communities and networks. From Brooklyn to Bali, programs span geographies, sectors and size of business. We tackle essential challenges in manufacturing, energy, capital, education, mental health, data, civic engagement, food, blockchain, disaster risk and more around the world. Located in Collaboratory and in partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, SecondMuse launched in February 2019 and is currently working with its first cohort of local entrepreneurs.
Some of SecondMuse’s current programs include NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, NYCEDC’s Futureworks, the M-Corps cleantech manufacturing program with NYSERDA, The Incubator Network with Circulate Capital to battle ocean plastics, and LAUNCH, accelerating technologies for the circular economy. Explore SecondMuse at SecondMuse.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram, or reach out any time at Secondmuse.com/contact.