Students at the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University have been able to take advantage of a special ongoing partnership with the Cornerstone Village Independent Living Facility campuses on Sherwood Drive and University Parkway in Johnson City in which second- and third-year pharmacy students work with facility residents regularly.

The program’s purpose, according to a news release, is “to discover first-hand the health challenges many seniors experience, and how a pharmacist can be a welcome ally in the effort to deliver high-quality health care experiences.”

Dr. Bruce Large, who for many years operated the Acme Drug Company, a pharmacy in Appalachia, Virginia, and is now a resident and faculty assistant at Cornerstone Village, said the program “enriches everyone’s lives.” 

“The students learn how to relate to older people and establish strong communication skills with them. They also get to see how seniors view young people as well. One other important thing is that the students get to grasp how older people experience and go through the aging process, which as we know is a part of life,” he said. 

Brenda McInturff, Director of Resident Services at Cornerstone Village, said the program has been good for residents as well.

“When Drs. Ralph Lugo and Brian Cross initially approached us a few years ago with the idea of doing this, it seemed like a great opportunity,” she said. “The residents benefit from the social aspects of talking with the students, plus it helps to give them a better understanding of the medications they are taking. The residents are also able to discuss with students certain health issues (that) are important to them.”

The three-year collaborative effort was the first of its kind in the United States. For more information on the ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy’s programs, visit