Lauren Adamchick ’22
El Salvador, 2019
Exhausting and busy. Rewarding and indescribable. That’s how Lauren Adamchick, a second-year student in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, characterizes the medical mission she took to El Salvador.
Working 10-hour days, Adamchick and the School of Pharmacy team spent their time in a primary care health clinic, dispensing medication and working with translators to counsel patients.
“This trip helped bring to life topics we had focused on in school,” she said. “We dispensed a lot of vitamins, Tylenol, and anti-parasitic medication. We were able to use our medical knowledge about different disease states and their treatments to counsel patients on their medications.”
For Adamchick, the trip was also a chance to combine her love of pharmacy with an opportunity to serve others.
“The patients we saw waited in line upwards to four hours to see a provider. By the time they reached the pharmacy, many of the patients had spent around six hours at the clinic; most of the time was spent waiting,” she said, adding that while she spent her days imparting medical knowledge to her patients, she learned just as much from them. “The most impactful lesson I learned on this trip was to be kind to everyone because you never know what hardships your patients are experiencing.”
Chelsea Barvian ’21
For Wegmans School of Pharmacy student Chelsea Barvian, working in health care means serving those in need. Putting that philosophy into action, she traveled to Mexico with fellow pharmacy students and undergraduates at Fisher to help deliver care to underserved communities.
In partnership with a local church, Barvian and the Fisher team accompanied health care professionals on home visits, providing blood pressure and blood glucose level screenings, and offering medication consultations. During their week in the village, they also hosted a free health clinic at the church, offering screenings to community members.
“We were able to utilize our knowledge on hypertension and diabetes, which we had already learned in our didactic curriculum, and we had also taken a communications class that helped us learn how to communicate with patients,” Barvian said, noting that the communications course was particularly helpful in understanding how to tailor counseling to each patient.
As a second-year student, Barvian also said the trip offered the chance to learn the roles and knowledge base of other health care practitioners, including doctors and nurses, leaving her with a solid idea of what it is like to work on an interprofessional team.
“I liked having this experience early on in my career because it exposed me to what to expect in the future as a health care professional,” she said. “It was great to get hands-on experience with populations that we don’t treat as much in the U.S. It was also great to get interprofessional experience and learn how to work with others with a common goal of treating a patient.”
Samantha Poon ’19
Pune, India, 2019
Five months before walking across the stage to earn her diploma, Wegmans School of Pharmacy student Samantha Poon engaged in an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) rotation in Pune, India. The trip underscored the impact a pharmacist can make and helped prepare Poon for a career in community pharmacy.
While abroad, she spent one week at a medical camp, developing and managing a process to ensure a smooth workflow to the prescription filling process. She also counseled patients and dispensed medication.
“Even in a setting such as the medical camp where resources are limited, a pharmacist can still provide impactful health education,” she said. “It was a wonderful learning experience and great practice to be placed in such a leadership/management role that is similar to what can be seen in the community pharmacy setting.”
Other days, Poon provided hypertension and diabetes education while working at the camp, and provided hand hygiene education to patients and women who attended a Women’s Day event. One of the biggest challenges was learning how to provide health care to people with a different culture, Poon said, noting that counseling on diabetes had to be tailored to the traditional food of India.
During Poon’s second week in India, she spent time with girls at the Girls Home and presented a talk to pharmacy students at DY Patil University. Upon graduation, she plans to continue working in an environment surrounded by people.
“I hope to continue to work with patients in the community setting as there is a lot of patient interaction and opportunity to build great relationships,” she said.
Riley Goho ’21
Blackfeet Reservation, Montana, 2018
Spending a week in Blackfeet Reservation, located in northern Montana, gave Riley Goho the opportunity to learn about the culture of the Native American tribe while engaging in need-based service work.
In addition to serving meals to elderly adults at the reservation’s community center, cleaning up a local school, building a pole barn, and helping to set-up a church camp, she also received an education in Native American medical and social traditions.
“This trip definitely opened my eyes up to the fact that people live so differently even though I was only across the country,” said Goho, who is a second-year pharmacy student. “It also helped me realize the cultural differences and how not everyone views medicine the same and that it someone to be aware of while out in the field.”
The experience solidified her passion for travel and she encourages her peers to consider engaging in a service trips as well.
“Going on a mission trip is one of the best experiences of my collegiate career so far and I am planning to go on another this summer,” she said. “There is time to go now, because once we graduate and are working, we may not have time.”
Jaylan Yuksel ’21
South Africa, 2018
After traveling to Peru to volunteer in an orphanage, Jaylan Yuksel knew she wanted to engage in a second trip offering opportunities to provide medical service.
A second-year pharmacy student, Yuksel traveled to South Africa with fellow students for a two week medical mission working in a local Sipho Zungo clinic. While there, they took vitals such as blood pressure, weight, temperature, height, and blood glucose level. The medical team also made home visits to patients in the Zulu community who were too ill to make it to the clinic.
“We cleaned wounds and gave out vitamins, porridge, and paracetamol—the South African equivalent to acetaminophen—to patients who needed it. We also helped clean up around patients’ homes and went to the common water faucet to bring water to people,” she explained. “This was my favorite part of the trip. I was able to learn a lot about the Zulu culture and meet so many kind souls while at the same time providing medical assistance to those in need.”
Upon graduation, Yuksel hopes to secure a residency in a neurology or psychiatric pharmacy. And, she plans to return to South Africa to volunteer again.
“Being abroad reconfirmed why I chose my career path: to be able to help those in need,” Yuksel said. “I plan on continuing to go on medical mission trips and help out as much as I can. I love learning about different cultures and meeting new people.”