March 19, 2014
Guatemala trip is life-changing for Belmont pharmacy students
By Mignonne Bryant
In a Guatemalan hotel, 23-year-old Belmont University student Gena Curl carefully unpacked all that she had brought from Nashville. A wave of doubts swept across her mind: “Am I going to be able to do this? I’m by myself in the pharmacy. Can I handle this?” Curl knew no one in this foreign place and barely spoke the local language, but the experience changed her life forever.
In October 2013, Curl traveled to Guatemala City as a fourth-year pharmacy student to provide free services at the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center — an opportunity offered by Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy, which partners with the Shalom Foundation and BUCOP Medical Missions.
According to Phil Johnston, dean of the pharmacy school at Belmont, roughly 25 students go each year to one of two locations: the surgery center in Guatemala City or a clinic on a coffee plantation in Antigua. Both locations are enabled by the Shalom Foundation. The building in Guatemala was remodeled and created as a surgery center by people from Nashville.
Dr. Kelley Kiningham, Associate Dean of Student for the College of Pharmacy, recently had a manuscript accepted for publication in PLOS One. The article titled, “Nuclear Interaction Between Adriamycin-Induced p65 and p53 Mediates Cardiac Injury in iNOS (-/-) Mice” identified inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) to be important in preventing cardiotoxicity secondary to adriamycin administration. The results support recent findings where oral delivery of inorganic nitrates is suggested for patients receiving adriamycin therapy.
Rho Chi members, Hollie Asmussen, Maggie Montgomery and Christie Griffiths, recently gave lectures on analgesics and antibiotics to students at Hillsboro High School. As the academic honor society in pharmacy, Rho Chi encourages and recognizes excellence in intellectual achievement and advocates critical inquiry in all aspects of pharmacy.
Fourth-year pharmacy students recently participated in interprofessional team geriatric case training with the Meharry Consortium Geriatric Education Center. To ensure health professional students develop skills for working in interprofessional teams, the Center hosts this annual team training. This is the third year the College of Pharmacy has been involved in this event.
This experience serves as an opportunity for students to develop interprofessional collaborative skills by working as a team on a geriatric case and developing a patient assessment and treatment plan. Faculty experts are available to consult with teams, and nurse practitioners observe and rate team dynamics. The program concludes with an interactive general assembly where an interdisciplinary expert panel provides feedback and answers questions.
Second and third-year pharmacy students enrolled in the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Elective spent the past month learning about the difficulties of medication adherence first-hand. Nineteen students were given a pillbox and 15 candies representing medications with various schedules of administration. Students were required to fill their pillbox according to their medication list. At the midpoint, students were given two medication changes mimicking real-life scenarios. Following the four-week project, students submitted a focused reflection and discussed the experience with their classmates. Students consistently deemed the pillbox experience a positive one.
Fourth-year pharmacy student Shaneika Walker and pharmacy faculty member Ashton Beggs recently returned from a one-week medical mission trip to Gobert, Haiti. Walker was selected for this Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) last spring. Under the supervision of Beggs, Walker was involved in all medication-related aspects of the trip planning, which began summer 2013. The medical team purchased medications from Blessings International, and it was the responsibility of the pharmacy student and pharmacist to decide which medications and the appropriate quantities to order to treat the variety of disease states encountered. Medications were packaged and labeled appropriately for shipping to Haiti for both the general and health literacy of the Haitian population. While in Gobert, Walker and Beggs were in charge of dispensing medications and counseling patients on each medication dispensed.
Meghan Duquette, a third year student in the College of Pharmacy, will represent Belmont at this year’s national Patient Counseling Competition presented by the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). Meghan was the winner of this year’s school competition in the College of Pharmacy coordinated by the local chapter of APhA-ASP. The national competition features local winners from 120+ pharmacy schools across the country. This year’s competition will be held in Orlando, FL at the end of March.
The goal of the APhA-ASP National Patient Counseling Competition is to encourage student pharmacists in their efforts toward becoming better patient educators. The competition is designed to reflect changes that are occurring in practice, to promote and encourage further professional development of the student pharmacist and to reinforce the role of the pharmacist as a health care provider and educator.