Local Pharmacist says it is people over profits

For pharmacist Rita Coleman, opening 7Mile discount Pharmacy was a natural progression.
Graduating from Ferris State with a Bachelor's of science degree in pharmacy, it wasn't hard for Coleman to find gainful emloyment.
For nearly a decade, Coleman who was born in Nigeria and raised in the States, worked feverishly to change the way precription medicine was administered to low income patients.
"As an African American woman working in coperate America, I tried to maintain the human connection to my patients, but my employers were more concerned with the bottom line,"Coleman said. "They weren't concerned about the long-term health of the patients. It was at that point that I realized starting my own business was the best way for me to provide the kind of one-on-one consultation my patients needed and were deserving of."
In 2009, Coleman opened the doors to 7 mile Discount Pharmacy for the first time.
It was one of many proud moments for the wife and mother. Now pregnant with her second child, Coleman is excited about life, business and the community she serves.
Coleman's parents sent Rita and her 2 sisters to America to attend school one at a time. Her brother was born in the United States. "We all went to school and entered the medical field," she said."Carrying on the proud tradition my parents started means a lot to me."
It's easy to see, when entering the 7Mile Discount Pharmacy, what seperates it from corporate pharmacies. At 7Mile, pharmacist are attentive to the customers and sensitive to their needs. The walls are adorned with certificates of appreciation for community services rendered and Coleman is fully immersed in the process.
"Our community has unique health concerns that demand a more holistic approach to healing,"says Coleman. "Instead of trying to always sell people medication I try to encourage them to modify their diets and start exercising regularly."
Coleman says with the high levels of hypertension and diabetes in the African American community, a pharmacist's responsibility is to ensure their patients are receiving the best advice possible and that doesn't always include medicine.
In addition to providing prescriptions at a discount rate, 7 Mile Discount Pharmacy, located on Detroits west side, offers free delivery for those who are home bound or lack transportation. They also offer special co-pay assistance,, accept all insurance plans including Medicare and stock all hard to find medications and compounds.
Within two years, the pharmacy has garnered a great deal of attention for its philanthropy and service to the community.
"There is more to owning a business than making money. More important than what you get from your customers is what you give," says Coleman. "I try to help wherever I can. Even when I can't donate money, I find ways to donate my time."
She and her employees have donated time to Meals on Wheels, Sister strut, Coats for Kids and other charity events.
Coleman offers her patients resources through the pharmacy's website www.7milediscountpharmacy.com.
A woman of vision and wisdom Rita Coleman is slated to open a second pharmacy in Pontiac next month.
"I want to inspire our children to do the best they can. I want them to know there is a right way to accomplish whatever they want to accomplish in life," says Coleman.

Written By Shaka Senghor (Michigan Citizen)

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