Sozo Wellness Pharmacy was opened by Dr Shadreka McIntosh just over a 2 years ago in Fort Myers, FL to serve the needs of a previously existing pharmacy desert in the Dunbar community. Prior to our opening, the nearest pharmacy was close to 3 miles away from this historical and predominantly African-American community. As a 4th generation native of the Dunbar Community, Dr McIntosh's desire was to open an all inclusive, personalized, and wellness focused pharmacy, that endeavors to address health equity issues in under-resourced communities. When people do not have access to a pharmacy in their neighborhood, they often delay getting critical medications for chronic health issues.
Since opening in the height of the Delta variant surge, Sozo Wellness Pharmacy has been established as a pillar of trust that provides culturally responsive care and education for our community. We have hosted various health education seminars, partnered with social service agencies, provided access to medical care via our onsite nonprofit primary care provider, Samaritan Wellness. We have also established partnerships that assist with providing free or affordable medications such as Dispensary of Hope and becoming one of the first Florida Department of Health Drug Donation Program site. In a community where distrust of the healthcare industry is present, having a wellness hub to provide access and comfort, is vitally important to removing barriers and improving health outcomes.
As pharmacy closures of large retail pharmacies occur nationwide, it is also increasingly difficult for independently owned pharmacies to sustain operations. It is especially a challenge in low income communities where low Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements are an issue. Thanks to our partners the Collaboratory, Finemark Bank, and Gingras Global, we were able to obtain funding to open the pharmacy, as part of an impact investment loan fund. We are launching this campaign with a goal of a capital raise of $250,000 to support the next phase of operational costs of the pharmacy, which include expansion of hours, addition of clinical services, staff salaries, and inventory.
Sozo Wellness Pharmacy appreciates your support and partnership as we fulfill our vow to stay present and to help our community to “LIVE WELL & BE WHOLE”!