The Patient Care Center (PCC) will begin serving the public in early 2010, and a key component will be caring for the elderly population. WesternU invited senior advocates to learn more about the campus on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Senior Services Alliance, part of the nonprofit Community Senior Services (CSS), is a networking group of senior service providers who share expertise, identify needs and research solutions for our aging population. The alliance raises money to support the Senior Help Line, one of many programs offered by CSS.

The alliance met at WesternU and invited university administrators to talk about the growth on campus. WesternU is adding more than 200,000 square feet of new academic and clinical space, including the Health Education Center (HEC) and PCC. Students will learn about science and medicine in these new buildings, with an emphasis on humanity, said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD.

“(Students are) here to become caring and compassionate healers and scientists,” he said. “The buildings are vessels for this philosophy to take place.”

PCC will house a pharmacy on the first floor, which will service the campus as well as neighboring communities, said Jesse Martinez, PharmD, College of Pharmacy (COP) Vice Dean for Academic Diversity and Development.

Two COP professors specialize in medication therapy management services, which would benefit seniors who need help sorting out Medicare Part D plans, he said. Medicare Part D provides Medicare beneficiaries with assistance paying for prescription drugs, a program that began in 2006.

“We are able to service Medicare beneficiaries in the neighborhood,” Martinez said. “We can review Medicare Part D plans and help guide patients toward better living.”

The College of Optometry will provide care for diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and other issues, said Charles Haine, OD, MS, College of Optometry Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs.

Optometry students will also be part of the interprofessional clinic rotations in the Patient Care Center.

“They’re learning to communicate with each other for the benefit of the patient,” Haine said.

As students go through clinical rotations, patients often help train them, providing advice about their communication skills and other important aspects of patient interaction, said Joan Sandell, DMD, Assistant Provost for Strategic Operations and Clinical Services.

PCC will open to patients in January or February, and WesternU wants to attract a variety of patients from Pomona and neighboring communities.

“For our educational mission, we have to attract patients from all walks of life,” Sandell said. “Students need that vast depth of experience.”

Many in attendance were visiting WesternU for the first time.

“This is an opportunity to see what is happening in our community,” said Floy Biggs, CEO of Community Senior Services. “It’s very exciting, all the growth and the opportunity to be involved in helping more seniors.”