Jamaican a difference: A grassroots approach by pharmacy students to develop an international service learning experience
Objective: To describe the implementation process of an international mission trip led by a pharmacy student and its acceptance as an introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) at the University of Rhode Island. Methods: Mustard Seed Communities (MSC), a non-profit, Catholic organization, was selected as the mission sponsor by the student leader based on previous travel experience on non-medical missions. Educational needs of the specific communities were identified and included medication management, basic physical assessment, and treatment of human immunodeficiency-infected pediatric patients. A mission team established by the student leader a year prior to travel worked to develop educational resources and fundraise. Faculty created a post-mission, student survey based on Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) criteria for an IPPE to assess the acceptability of the pharmacy mission as an approved international service learning experience. Results: Three workshops were delivered to the MSC caregivers by 11 pharmacy students and a pediatric faculty member. Educational sessions and interactions with children and caregivers gave students opportunities to provide medication counseling and expand their drug knowledge. Survey outcomes demonstrated ACPE service learning and pre-Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) skills guidelines, including communication, counseling, and medication information, and were satisfied. Conclusion: The implementation of an international service learning experience in the curriculum was successful. Through a student-led mission, pharmacy students were able to foster IPPE practice-based skills by working with the MSC children and caregivers.