Pharmacist Involvement in Medical Missions

Planning, Execution, and Assessment

Elias B. Chahine, Pharm.D., BCPS; Adwoa O. Nornoo, Ph.D.


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2012;69(8):636-643. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The motto of the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic University is "pharmacy with faith," and its vision is "excellence with character." The school strives to develop "servant-leaders" who are patient care advocates fully committed to raising the standards of practice within the profession of pharmacy by serving, teaching, and healing those most in need.[1]

In line with its mission and vision, the school has developed a program of short-term medical missions to provide faculty, students, alumni, and friends an opportunity to cultivate their servant-leadership skills overseas and in the United States.[1,2] Since 2003, the school has been sending teams of faculty and students to a variety of countries— Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Taiwan, and Zambia—to provide patient care in collaboration with local health care professionals. Recently, the school sent out a team to Belle Glade, an underserved rural community in south Florida, in an effort to expand its program locally.

According to standard 14 of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education guidelines on practice experiences for Pharm.D. candidates, "the pharmacy practice experiences must include direct interaction with diverse patient populations in a variety of practice settings and involve collaboration with other health care professionals."[3] Further, "elective advanced pharmacy practice experiences [APPEs] in other settings [e.g., medical missions] should complement the required experiences and provide adequate and innovative opportunities for students to mature professionally and in accordance with their individual interests."

The medical mission program at our school meets that standard by providing students an opportunity to interact with patients and health care professionals in economically disadvantaged areas within and outside the United States. This article suggests a stepwise approach to planning, executing, and integrating an APPE into a medical mission trip.


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