The Barry-Bashur Foundation has approved grant funding for a two-year operational study of the Butler University Community Outreach Pharmacy (BUCOP). The study aims at improving and expanding BUCOP’s service to medically underserved residents of near eastside Indianapolis.

PharmD/MBA candidate Matt Polston of Brookville, Ohio, and COPHS Director of Grants and Budget Jason Range co-authored the grant proposal. They will use the $4,500 award to begin collecting and analyzing data on BUCOP’s medication dispensing practices in April.

Teams of COPHS student volunteers have dispensed thousands of no-cost prescriptions and provided healthcare education to patients since BUCOP opened in 2009. Polston serves as BUCOP’s Finance Director.

BUCOP and the Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic operate in partnership out of the Neighborhood Fellowship Church on Saturdays; the IU clinic provides medical and social services. Students gain valuable professional experience working with each other and the patients, many of whom have no insurance and need help managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma.

In their grant proposal, Polston and Range noted that the largest portion of BUCOP’s operating budget is the increasing cost of the 73 different prescription and over-the-counter medications distributed.

The investigators will gather data on the number of patients served, their disease states, and the types and number of medications dispensed. They will explore less expensive alternative medications that might make the most of BUCOP’s limited budget.

The proposal stated that potential costs savings will help BUCOP with its “ultimate goal—providing expanded educational opportunities for our students, while providing even more underserved patients with the basic medications they need and deserve.”

BUCOP volunteers have earned state and national recognition for their service in public health.