Puebla Service Project 2015

Around the Globe Special Feature

This spring 32 students participated in the 10th annual Puebla Service Project. The group visited 15 communities in the Sierra Norte region of Mexico and saw 428 patients. They provided screenings for glucose, A1C and cholesterol, and provided blood pressure checks.

“Providing these services to these communities is important as their doctors are generally only accessible twice a month, and the local clinics lack materials for point-ofcare testing,” said Eli Eggen, one of the coordinators of this year’s trip. “This leaves many patients in the dark about the status of their disease for months, and in some cases, years at a time. Many of the patients we see comment on the peace of mind they receive when they are able to receive information on the status of their health.”

The Puebla Service Project is an opportunity for students to engage with communities in need and learn more about the people of those communities as well as about themselves. Students who have participated in the trip say it’s an important way to increase cultural awareness of how people in other countries work to keep themselves healthy, and to learn about the struggle that many endure as a result of lack of access to health care. Connecting with these people, even with a language barrier, allows students to become more confident in their ability to reach across cultures and provide patient care.

Over the past few years the students have established a collaboration with the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla (BUAP). This year, they met with the director of the BUAP college of pharmacy to discuss the role of pharmacists in Mexico and the expansion of pharmaceutical care through initiatives of BUAP in Puebla.

“We are looking forward to working with BUAP in the future in order to continue learning about patient care in Mexico,” said Eggen. “We will also be able to provide Mexican pharmacists with insight into the role of a pharmacist in Minnesota and share ideas for future implementation of pharmaceutical care for patients in Mexico.”

In addition to Eggen, other students who participated in this year’s trip include Levi Long, Lindsey Niederhaus, Caitlin Strand and Axel Vazquez-Deida (trip coordinators), as well as Junsup Ahn, Christina Bi, Tiffany Cheng, Brian Cox, Alexander Craker, Viki Ding, Candy Duong, Linli Fung, Anthony Greenly, Vu Ha, Angelita Incer, Pamela Jahnke, Sara Johnson, Phuong Lam, Charles Litecky, Melissa Malyuk, Michael Kapsner, Sean Navin, Nikki Neumann, Vlad Popescu, Swetha Pradeep, Bryan Sather, Brooke Schooler, Charlie Sieberg, Min kyung Sohn, Hilary Teaford and Justice Witt.

A group of 25 from the University of Minnesota, including nine pharmacy students, participated in a medical/dental mission in Honduras through the non-profit organization Global Brigades Jan. 4-11. The group provided medical, gynecology, dental and optometry care to 890 patients in the rural towns El Pajarillos and El Pedregal. The group consisted of pharmacy and undergraduate students, two physicians, one pharmacist and one nurse.They were joined by Honduran health professionals, including two dentists, two doctors, one optometrist and one pharmacist. During clinic, the students worked or shadowed at all of the stations, including triage, physician exam, children’s education, gynecology, dental, pharmacy and data entry.

They were also joined by Honduran healthcare educators who are trained to translate and mreview public health issues like STIs and hygiene, and to explain medications. mPrior to the trip, the group raised more than $4,000 to purchase the medications mand hygiene supplies they distributed at the clinics. Pharmacy students who participated include Lauren Dubosh, Eli Eggen, Brittany Hawke, Shalyn Koester, Lindsay Kubina, Brett Moldenhauer, Cassandra Skoog, Erik Stoa and Erin Weslander.