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Students Call Service Trips Rewarding, Immersive

October 1, 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.

Lauren Adamchick was among the School of Pharmacy students to travel to El Salvador on a medical mission.

The trip to El Salvador was just one of the medical missions members of the School of Pharmacy community engaged in over the summer and spring break. With two trips to El Salvador this summer, students and faculty also traveled to South Dakota, South Africa, Guatemala, and Mexico. Although the trips were organized by the School, they included students from across campus, including pre-health, nursing, and nurse practitioner students.

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.

Students from the Wegmans School of Pharmacy work at a clinic in El Salvador.

Students from the Wegmans School of Pharmacy work at a clinic in El Salvador.

“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.”

Cassandra Lopane, a second-year pharmacy student, also traveled to El Salvador. For her, the medical mission was an opportunity to serve a community outside of Rochester and her hometown of Millerton, New York. She said it was a “unique learning experience,” because she was immersed not only in a new culture and but in her profession, too.

“I was able to not only enhance my knowledge of medications but also work on my counseling skills and patient interaction as (through a translator) I was able to communicate with patients and explain to them a little bit about the medications they were prescribed,” she said.