Date of Original Version
Background: Timmy Global Health (TGH) is a non-profit organization that expands international access to healthcare and empowers both students and volunteers to confront challenging global health issues. A pharmacist’s knowledge of drug products, therapeutic substitution, patient counseling, drug dosing and calculations, pharmacy organization and workflow, and dispensing efficiency make them a valuable asset to a brigade team.
Objective: To evaluate the roles and impact of fourth year pharmacy students and a pharmacist integrated into an interdisciplinary team on a medical brigade in the surrounding area of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of a single interdisciplinary medical brigade in Guatemala during August 16-24,2014 was conducted. An electronic survey was administered to all team members upon completion of travel. Medical brigade members included: Boston College pre-medical students (including 2014 graduates), college students (including non-healthcare majors), medical doctors, and TGH employees and volunteers. Project was designated as exempt by the authors’ Institutional Review Board.
Results: The survey was distributed to 36 members of which 13 responded (36% response rate). 69% of respondents were female and the majority between 21-30 years old (54%). Respondents role on the brigade was 77% pre-medical students, medical doctor (17%) and TGH employee (8%). One-third had never worked with pharmacy personnel before the brigade and 100% of respondents viewed the role of a pharmacist more positively after the brigade. Respondents ranked knowledge of drug products as most useful pharmacy service (38%) followed by therapeutic substitution (23%). After the brigade respondents had a higher appreciation for the importance of teamwork, felt better prepared to work on a team, had a higher agreement that pharmacists are an important part of the medical team, and were more likely to refer a drug-related question to a pharmacy representative in the future.
Conclusion: Incorporation of pharmacy students and a pharmacist as part of an international, interdisciplinary medical brigade improved attitudes and opinions towards the pharmacy profession, working as part of a medical team, and likelihood of referring questions to pharmacists in the future. Preliminary results of this project provide evidence of the potential roles and opportunities for pharmacists in global health initiatives.
Poyant, J. O., Striglio, M. C. & Asal, N. J. (2014). International health: what is the role of fourth year pharmacy students and a pharmacist on an interdisciplinary medical brigade in Guatemala? [Poster presentation]. American Society of Health System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting.