March 23, 2016
Tien Ho, PharmD’19, and Josephine Tan, PharmD’18, prepare the pharmacy inventory for a day in the clinic.

The College of Pharmacy’s Student Committee for International Opportunities recently sent six pharmacy students on a medical service trip during the University’s spring break. The students traveled to the remote city of Camasca, Honduras, where they met up with physicians, nurses, and pharmacists from the Cleveland Clinic to provide primary care to local patients in partnership with the nonprofit organization Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc. The experience provided opportunities to work on an interprofessional health care team, participate in therapeutic decision-making within the context of a limited-resource clinic, and learn more about the health care needs of an underserved population of Hondurans.

The days started early with packing volunteers and medical supplies into the back of a pick-up truck in order to reach the clinic sites in the surrounding villages by 8:00 am. Working in one-room churches or spare classrooms, the volunteers created a triage area, a space for the providers to perform physical exams, and a pharmacy. The pharmacy students worked with the pharmacists to calculate antibiotic doses, determine the best therapy for each patient given the limited medication options, and counsel patients on proper use and side effects. Over the course of the week, the volunteers saw over 1000 patients at 9 different clinic sites in southwestern Honduras.

“The lessons I’ve learned and bonds formed on the trip have left a lasting impression,” says Emily Hoylman, PharmD’18, a member of the service trip. “We are all eager to return to Honduras to reunite with the local health care workers and American volunteers who helped make the week a success.”