Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Global Experiential and Didactic Education Opportunities at US Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Global Experiential and Didactic Education Opportunities at US Colleges and Schools of Pharmacy

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Interest in global health experiences is rapidly increasing among health professional students in the United States. (1-4) Academic institutions are integrating global health into their didactic instruction, experiential rotations, and research opportunities as they realize the importance of global engagement and recognize global health as an academic field. (5) A 2011 review of 133 medical schools in the United States reported that 24% have structured programs in global health, (6) and, in 2014, 29% of graduating US medical students took part in a global health experience. (7) The increased demand for global education opportunities has now led to the exploration of global health educational competencies and approaches by organizations such as the Global Health Education Consortium (GHEC), the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), and the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). (2) The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) recently developed a set of global health competencies that include capacity strengthening, collaborating and partnering, and health equity and social justice among others. (8)

Colleges and schools of pharmacy have also responded to the growing interest. An unpublished 2010 AACP survey of 114 schools of pharmacy in the United States found that 40 had an active global/international program. (9) The results also showed an increase in the number with formal affiliation agreements with foreign institutions. The most common types of agreements included experiential rotations, research collaboration, and faculty and student exchanges. A majority of the respondents reported an increase or no change in their level of global and international affiliations during the year prior to the survey. (9, 10) Most global education opportunities within pharmacy focus on global health education and training where global health is defined as "an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide." (11)

The globalization of pharmacy education has also impacted national pharmacy associations. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) responded to the increased interest in global health experiences by approving the establishment of the Global Pharmacy Education Special Interest Group. The purpose of the group is to "provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas, and programs that pertain to pharmacy education, research, and healthcare on a global basis." (12) Several pharmacy associations such as AACP and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) are also incorporating more globally focused programming into their annual meetings and events. The 2015 AACP Annual Meeting had a global theme and jointly convened with the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has begun to certify international pharmacy programs, and the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) has recently hired a director of international residency program development.

One suggested strategy for the globalization of the pharmacy profession is to empower students with the knowledge, experience, and skills, such as cultural sensitivity, necessary for future practitioners. (13) Students who have participated in global health experiences report positive benefits including increased cultural awareness, enhanced community, social, and public health awareness, and more appreciation for global issues and challenges. (14-17) In addition, these experiences can help build confidence and critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. (18) Furthermore, international training experiences may be associated with future career choices in underserved or primary care settings. (4, 14, 18) Beyond schools of pharmacy, student organizations recognize the value of establishing student exchange programs throughout the world. …

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