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Global Trips Offer “Incredible Perspectives” for Health Care Providers

September 6, 2023

For Dr. Nicole Delello ’18 (Pharm.D.), returning to El Salvador for a medical mission was a return to the roots of her passion for health care.

Nicole Delello at a clinic in El Salvador.

An alumna of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, Delello first traveled to El Salvador in 2016 as a second-year pharmacy student. The trip inspired her to create an individualized fourth-year APPE medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic and today, she serves as a pharmacist at Kinney Drugs in Syracuse, New York, advocating daily for her patients. Her passion for international medical missions led her to serve as the team leader for a group this summer, who spent seven days delivering care to more than 1,000 community members.

The team—which included Sabrina Wright, a third-year pharmacy student in the online pathway; recent graduate Mackenzie Currie ’23, a pre-health major; Abby Buckley, a current biology major; and Alice Mahoney, a current nursing major—partnered with Global Health Outreach to provide medical and dental care, dispense needed medication, and offer clinical pharmacy services.

Nursing student Alice Mahoney takes a patient's blood pressure at a clinic in El Salvador.

This marked the School of Pharmacy’s 14th trip to El Salvador; the team returned this year after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. It was a welcome opportunity for Delello.

“Returning to El Salvador as a practicing pharmacist was an absolute honor. The pharmacy profession is one that is always changing, which creates continuous learning opportunities. With this new knowledge also comes expansion within our scope of practice,” she said, noting that collaborating with the Salvadorian doctors expanded her knowledge and offered new ways to collaborate with other health care professionals.

“At the beginning of the trip, we decided that the providers would diagnose, and the pharmacists would determine the appropriate treatment regimen. This method of treatment allowed me an opportunity to teach about each diagnosis that came through the pharmacy,” she explained. “If you have the opportunity to go on a medical mission trip, I would highly recommend it. It is truly such an exciting and rewarding experience, gives you incredible perspective on your field, and It helped me remember why I became a health care provider.”

Dr. Akesha Edwards, Madison John, and Dr. Juliette Miller.

Dr. Juliette Miller ’20, visiting assistant professor, had a similar perspective from her trip to Ipalamwa, Tanzania with Global Volunteers. Miller, along with Dr. Akesha Edwards, visiting assistant professor, served as faculty team leaders and traveled with current first-year pharmacy student Madison John.

“During my education at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, residency at the University of Georgia, and currently as faculty at my practice site, I have worked with a lot of underserved patient populations, including those who speak other languages,” Miller said. “Therefore, I felt right at home on our service trip utilizing my skills, knowledge, and experience to serve those in the clinic and on home visits, despite actually being thousands of miles away from home.”

The group provided care at the Ipalamwa Global Clinic and also conducted home visits to mothers to address issues such as alcoholism, child stunting, and family planning.

“During my time in Ipalamwa, I shared my health care expertise with caregivers and expectant, new, and seasoned moms and staff at the medical clinic,” Edwards said. “Every encounter and experience was profound. Tanzanians are gracious, humble, and eager for new information. Their praise and honor is unlimited toward all volunteers. So is their need.”