Prizm News / March 11, 2019 / By Celina Nader
Long Street pharmacy now offers groceries, over-the-counter meds and everyday items.
By Celina Nader
Rainbow balloons adorning the front of the newest Equitas Health pharmacy Monday added some festive flair to Long Street in the historic King Lincoln District.
The inclusive healthcare company has moved into its roomy first-floor digs from its previous location on the third floor of 750 E Long Street. At 3,200 square feet, the new space is four times larger, allowing Equitas Health to stock shelves and coolers with fresh food, a wall of pantry items and snacks, extensive over-the-counter medications and products, all with affordable pricing.
To Sam Rinehart, chairman of the Equitas Health board, the pharmacy’s main purpose is to “serve the underserved.” With the nearest grocery store more than five miles away, the King Lincoln District is a healthcare and food desert.
“We don’t intend to make money from the food we sell,” Rinehart said.
Located across from the Lincoln Theatre and down the street from Columbus State Community College, the Equitas Health pharmacy will provide nearby residents with safe, easy, affordable access to medicine, food and everyday goods.
The pharmacy originally opened in May 2017, functioning solely as a pharmacy with a few over-the-counter items and retail.
Aaron Clark, chief pharmacy officer at Equitas Health, cites a growth from 74 patients in the first month of operation to more than 550 patients per month in the last year.
“During this time of expansion, we really reached out to the [King Lincoln] community and welcomed their feedback in multiple focus groups,” Clark said at Monday’s grand opening.
Clark and other emphasized the importance of the neighborhood’s specific needs. Residents expressed desire for the pharmacy to stock food and groceries, over-the-counter medications and healthcare items, and other items as well.
Columbus City Council member Liz Brown thanked Equitas Health for its contributions to the city:
“Community members came first in deciding what would happen with this pharmacy,” she said. “By asking the community what they need, listening to that feedback and then addressing those needs in the best way possible, community partners like you play a pivotal role in neighborhood revitalization and service provision.”
“Equitas is shifting the paradigm, because Equitas understands that if you are treating someone for an illness, if they are going home to a house that is food insecure, or they don’t have easy access to the prescriptions that you’re prescribing, their ability to get healthy is severely limited, no matter how effective your diagnosis may be.”
The King Lincoln pharmacy also provides patients and customers with pharmacists who have HIV testing, prevention and treatment expertise, vaccinations, prescription-reminder services, other health screenings, and free home prescription delivery.
Bill Hardy, Equitas Health president and CEO, called the pharmacy “a community-based organization, a community health center, a community pharmacy, and we want to be an active participating vibrant part of this neighborhood.”
(Editor’s Note: Equitas Health is the parent company and publisher of Prizm magazine and PrizmNews.com.)