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Pharmacy Resumes International Service Trips Post-Pandemic

March 16, 2022

After more than two years, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy sent two teams of students to serve on international service projects, caring for patients and community members in Roatan, Honduras and Lima, Peru.

A pharmacy student counsels a young patient at a health clinic in Peru.

As P4 students in their final year of the Pharm.D. program, the students will serve on these trips as part of their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs), being overseen by a preceptor and in-country medical staff, as they care for patients in these underserved communities.

“We are so pleased to be able to restart our international service trips again,” said Dr. Christine Birnie, dean of the School. “These trips provide students an opportunity to develop patient care, communication, and cross-cultural skills that are directly transferable to the diverse patient care setting right here in our local communities.”

Students Dakota Pursel and Catherine DeFazio spent four weeks working at the Clinica Esperanza in Roatan, Honduras. They were precepted by Kristine Schwandt, a pharmacist a Rochester General Hospital and preceptor for the school.

“Being able to go on another medical mission trip after having them all delayed for two years means we have an important opportunity to make a difference globally. So many countries across the globe need help more than ever before. I’m grateful to be a part of our return back to a familiar community here in Honduras,” said Pursel.

Dr. Mindy Lull, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, joined students Erica Barbay, Taylor Culpepper, Jennifer Daucher, and Cassandra Lopane on a two-week trip to Peru, working at a health clinic in Sagrada Familia in a district north of Lima. The trip was with Global Volunteers, an organization the School has partnered with for nearly 10 years.

“Students get such valuable learning experiences serving communities in need, and as a cornerstone of our program at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, our inability to travel has been difficult,” said Lull. “Our last service program was in March of 2020 and we have all been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get back out into the world!”

The School of Pharmacy has another clinical rotation planned for two more students to return to Roatan, Honduras in April, followed by three more service trips to Guatemala, South Dakota, and Montana this summer.