Howard University College of Pharmacy Advances Partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands and Launches Two Major CollaborativeInitiatives

The Howard University College of Pharmacy (HUCOP) and U.S. Virgin Islands
Governor Albert Bryan Jr.’s Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) have
collaborated to create two new initiatives – Public Health Informatics & Technology for
the US Virgin Islands, a workforce training program, and the Digital Research Initiative,
which will afford Virgin Islanders opportunities to advance in the fields of public health
informatics, health information and telehealth.

The initiatives were established under the stewardship of Howard University Provost
Anthony Wutoh, Dean Ranti Akiyode of the Howard University College of Pharmacy,
and DC-based health transformation company Zane Networks LLC. Both initiatives
have successfully launched under OHIT and Howard University guidance (Via key
supporting faculty: Dr. Mary K. Awuonda, Dr. Pamela Carter-Nolan, and Dr. John
Kwagyan) in collaboration with a number of USVI government agencies and the
Schneider Regional Medical Center.

The USVI Office of Health Information Technology was established in 2021 by
Governor Albert Bryan Jr. to enhance health and wellness in the USVI through
innovative and transformative health information technology resources. As such, the
two major collaborative initiatives are detailed below:

Workforce Training Initiative: This workforce training initiative named the
PHIT4VI (Public Health Informatics & Technology for the US Virgin Islands)
exchange program, was tailored by Dr. Awuonda for the USVI and is a program
that allows students, health professionals and IT professionals from the US Virgin
Islands to participate in the public health informatics and training (PHIT) programs
as Howard University exchange students. The program includes elective courses,
bootcamps, and workshops. The inaugural PHIT4VI cohort includes eight (8)
PHIT Exchange participants who will gain knowledge on defining public health
informatics and health information technology, understanding the context of
population health, care coordination, interoperable health IT systems, hands on

training with electronic health record (EHR) and exposure to the health information
exchange (HIE) data systems (specifically CRISP Shared Services) to advance
population health.

Digital Research Initiative: The digital health research initiative focuses on
collaborative research in telehealth through HUCOP’s Telepharmacy and
Population Health Center (HUTEPH). The Center was officially launched April 20th
2023 but was in development from April 2021 under the Directorship of Dr. Mary
K. Awuonda. This demonstration project launched between Howard University
College of Pharmacy and the Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC) located
in St. Thomas USVI. The first goal of the program is to initiate a telehealth
supported, pharmacist-led, transitions of care program and the second goal is to
enhance SRMC’s existing Meds to Bedside Medication Management and
Compliance Program.

“For HUCOP these efforts are well aligned with the college’s vision and strategic plan
to expand its research and training efforts beyond mainland U.S.,” Dean Akiyode

“I am thrilled to see the efforts over the 18 months coming to fruition in ways that
tangibly benefit Virgin Islanders,” stated Michelle Francis, Director of the Office of
Health Information Technology. “It has been an honor and pleasure to help manifest
Governor Bryan’s vision for integrated and enhanced health care through re-kindling
the relationship with Howard University and partnering in ways that ultimately
improve health outcomes while also positively impacting our workforce and

Cross-cutting these initiatives is the achievement of core strategic objectives for all
entities in the collaboration. The renewed partnerships are a start of a long-term
strategy to expand training and research between The Government of the US Virgin
Islands, led by the Office of Health Information Technology, and Howard University
College of Pharmacy.

For more information about the Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT), visit

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and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the
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