Concordia University Wisconsin kicked off a new endeavor to drive change in the way health care is delivered to people living with chronic illnesses during a launch event on Friday, May 19, that drew some 50 innovators in the health care field.

The new initiative, called Concordia Medication Management Accelerator (CMMA), is an effort of Concordia’s School of Pharmacy and Batterman School of Business, with backing from The Dohmen Co., a Milwaukee-based family of companies committed to creating a more efficient, effective and easy to use health experience.

Spurred by the knowledge that care for those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension and blood pressure, is oftentimes costly, difficult to access and/or ineffective, CMMA aims to encourage industry leaders to come together to find feasible solutions through comprehensive medication management. At the end of an 18-month collaborative experience that promises business development and practice implementation coaching from Concordia University Wisconsin faculty and a nationally renowned non-profit, Alliance for Integrated Medication Management (AIMM), six teams will be awarded a combined total of more than $60,000 to implement their innovations or best practices learned.

The Friday event was an opportunity for individuals to learn about the impetus for the accelerator. Represented in the pool of participants were pharmacists from some of the state’s leading health care organizations, including Aurora, Froedtert and Ascension, as well as additional health care providers, payers, academicians, quality improvement personnel and entrepreneurs.

“Everyone in this room can share stories about how thinking outside of the box or simply digging a little deeper into a patient’s life led to better outcomes,” said Traynor.

One participant, Alan Atchison, who is a general manager and clinical pharmacist for a Walgreens pharmacy, shared one of those stories.

iCare CEO Tom Lutzow, Senior VP Physician Strategist Dr. Masood Wasiullah and Medical Director of the Institute for Quality, Innovation, and Patient Safety Dr. Kori Krueger.iCare CEO Tom Lutzow, Senior VP Physician Strategist Dr. Masood Wasiullah and Medical Director of the Institute for Quality, Innovation, and Patient Safety Dr. Kori Krueger.

While working at a clinic in Minnesota, Atchison received a referral patient, a 282-pound woman who was on medication for diabetes and who had just been denied weight loss surgery because she didn’t have the cardiovascular ability to survive it.

“When I entered the room, it was just a very grim mood,” said Atchison.

Through some additional probing into the woman’s daily eating habits, Atchison learned that the woman, an employee at a fast-food chain, would unconsciously graze throughout the day. The two estimated she ate about a pound or more of tater tots each day at work.

“We printed out a menu and found some better options, and I looked at her medication and made some adjustments,” explained Atchison.

A year later, the woman was down 120 pounds, off her medication and had a completely different lease on life. Atchison said it’s stories like these that make him eager about finding additional solutions.

The day-long CMMA Launch event also included an address from Cynthia LaConte, chief executive officer of Dohmen, and a panel discussion on the topic of how ready and able the market is to change. Panelists included Tom Lutzow, chief executive officer of iCare; Dr. Kori Krueger, medical director of the Institute for Quality, Innovation, and Patient Safety at Marshfield Clinic; and Dr. Masood Wasiullah, senior vice president physician strategist with Aurora Health Care.

The afternoon session allowed participants to break into teams and explore the CMMA track they will choose to pursue – the service accelerator track, for individuals looking to implement or expand CMM services as part of an already-existing organization, or the start-up accelerator track, for those looking to start their own company.

It’s all about a healthy and happy Wisconsin. The collaboration – everybody teaches and everybody learns – and the accountability of everyone coming together is extremely powerful. Dr. Andrew Traynor, chair of pharmacy practice

Teams will register for CMMA participation by June 15, and from there will participate in monthly learning webinars and team coaching calls. The next face-to-face CMMA meeting will take place Sept. 14.  The meeting will be used as a time to discuss business development proposals and practice for a live pitch event to take place on Nov. 8.

Prize money will be awarded at the fall 2017 live pitch event. One team from the start-up accelerator will receive $20,000. A combined total of $42,500 will be awarded to five of the 10 teams from the service accelerator track.

Pitch competition winners may have the opportunity to then join a year-long, statewide learning collaborative related to medication management.

“We’re really thrilled with the turnout,” Traynor said after the event. “There’s that saying that the right people are in the room, and that definitely was the case today. It will be exciting to see the ideas that result from this effort.”

Learn more about CMMA at

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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