ST. LOUIS — A brand new St. Louis pharmacy is working to re-think healthcare for under-represented communities. The goal is to make everyone feel welcome regardless of their race or background. Even city leaders are praising this new venture.
Dr. Marcus Howard knows St. Louis. The 30-year-old grew up there and had a vision of what he could pour into his city. He's proof a vision can become reality.
Tuesday, city leaders and supporters gathered to celebrate his new pharmacy, GreaterHealth, located inside of the Delmar Divine building on Delmar Boulevard. For him, it's about the little things.
"A lot of people feel seen and valued when they see that they can purchase Band-Aids that match their skin tone,” he said pointing at an assortment of Band-Aids for sale in his store with a range of complexions,” Howard said.
He believes the little things can result in big outcomes: people feeling included. His team of five pharmacists and staff go through mandatory training.
"Trainings about cultural competence, trainings about providing gender-affirming care, trainings about better understanding people who identify as LGBTQ+, those who English is their second language,” he explained.
St. Louis' health director commended Howard for making such an intentional business model.
"I cannot think of a better way for us to celebrate the last day of Black History Month than to come and support this young King and this beautiful pharmacy,” Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis said, pointing out how she witnessed customers feeling comfortable and welcomes when they entered the business.
The pharmacy has partnered with SSM Health so there's a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner on hand. Without leaving the building, people can pick up their prescriptions too.
"All in one swoop they're able to get their healthcare needs taking care of,” Howard said. GreaterHealth even delivers prescriptions for free to people who aren't able to travel. “The 93-year-old senior who necessarily can’t drive or get to the pharmacy, we're able to deliver those medications to the door for free."
A young man with a vision of representation and service at the center.
"We’re really excited about doing something different and bringing something unique to the community,” he added.
When starting up his business, Dr. Howard started fundraising on GoFundMe but initially fell short of his goal. The Missouri Foundation for Health heard and invested in his vision, helping him open up shop.