By Steve Vodhanel
Naomi Florea, Pharm.D., assistant professor, infectious diseases, School of Pharmacy, has introduced a new and exciting elective course preparing pharmacy students to be healthcare providers in international medical mission trips. Titled “Introduction to International Medical Missions,” the course goes far beyond the routine of drug dispensing by providing pharmacy students the knowledge and experience to plan and conduct a successful international medical mission trip.
According to Dr. Florea, the course will not only instruct students on how to perform a full medical examination that includes patient history, review of symptoms, vital sign assessment, and physical examination, but also cover the practical logistics of medical mission trips. Students are introduced to travel itinerary planning, budget preparation, medication and medical supply procurement, and administrative approval processes. Fundraising strategies necessary to accomplish the proposed mission trip as well as training on cultural appropriateness and sensitivities when traveling to international destinations is another vital purpose of the course.
A major project required of students provides real-world experiential education by having teams of students work together to prepare an actual international medical mission trip proposal complete with local description (country, facility), estimated number of patients, common diseases seen in the local populace, cultural sensitivities, travel itinerary, budget, medication and medical supply list, workflow assignments and potential fundraising strategies.
“The experiential project is meant not only as a lesson in planning and logistics, but also as a spring board towards an actual international medical mission trip,” stated Dr. Florea.
Having planned and led an international medical mission trip for pharmacy students to Romania last summer, Dr. Florea’s expertise is providing leadership for many pharmacy students eager for international medical mission service.
Naomi Florea, Pharm.D., in class with pharmacy students.