Grace Chun PharmD’16 recently traveled overseas to participate in the International Pharmaceutical Student Federation’s annual World Congress event. Here’s what she had to say:
International Pharmaceutical Student Federation (IPSF) is the only international advocacy group for the student pharmacists. IPSF aims to promote public health through wide range of global networking and initiating global health campaigns, such as World AIDS Day and World Tobacco Day. Along with close collaboration with the International Pharmaceutical Federation, IPSF holds official relations with the World Health Organization, as well. The largest meeting for the IPSF members is the annual World Congress, a conference for the pharmacy students and pharmacists from all around the globe.
This year’s 59th annual World Congress was held in Utrecht, Netherlands, from July 30 to Aug. 9. The experience as a U.S. participant at the conference was truly an asset because I broadened my scope in the pharmacy practice. At the conference, I have participated in the international patient counseling event, attended career exhibitions, and engaged in memorable networking experiences.
The highlight of the World Congress was the international night where the students gathered to express their cultures and customs through dance and delicious pastries. I was able to taste Sake from Japan and amazing chocolates from Belgium. I also learned lovely traditional Sweden dance to exciting “Gangnam Style” dance from Korea.
World Congress does not only comprise of symposiums and general assemblies but consist of true international gathering to embrace each other’s cultures. Only those who attended IPSF World Congress can understand the meaning of international pharmacy experience. It was fortunate for me and Dana Lee to participate in a great experience to represent the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. I wish I could engage more PCP students to engage in international pharmacy, as I was able to broaden my horizon. I was able to see how the government in Denmark works closely with pharmacists to improve healthcare systems, and also experience how Switzerland pharmacists work together with physicians to improve patient-care.
I have come to understand the meaning of “viva la pharmacie” thanks to this conference, and only those who attend the conference will be able to experience this motto to the fullest. As the newly elected Pan-American Regional Office (PARO) Secretary, I will continue to serve IPSF and carry out the motto, “viva la pharmacie!”
Student Exchange Program at PCP: One of the assets of IPSF is the Student Exchange Program, which allows students to explore pharmacy practice in different countries. After careful and objective analysis of each applicant, the member association of IPSF organizes the exchanges by finding the practice sites. The practice sites include community pharmacies, wholesale companies, pharmaceutical industry, government or private health agencies.
PCP is one of the few colleges of pharmacy that can host SEP students in the United States. As of last year, PCP was approved as one of few host sites in the U.S. This year was the second annual student exchange program held at PCP to allow an international student to have a chance to experience what pharmacy means outside his or her country’s practice.
On July 7, Thibault Ali, a student from Strasbourg, France, came to our institution for a month to experience community, compounding, and industry pharmacy experience through our APhA-ASP/IPSF chapter. He began his stay with a tour around USciences and a luncheon with the faculty members.
He was able to experience community pharmacy at Sunray Pharmacy, and compounding pharmacy at The Art of Medicine. Thibault also had an industry experience at Johnson and Johnson and learned about medical information and drug products. He experienced industry rotation with other sixth-year pharmacy students at PCP.
Not only he experienced pharmacy practice, he was exposed to American culture as he visited the Philadelphia Phillies game with Dr. Melody, Shakespeare play with Dr. Earl, and many other Philadelphia’s attractions with fellow IPSF members. This program not only allowed Thibault to gain an insight to pharmacy practice in the U.S., but allowed our chapter to acknowledge new ideas from understanding Thibault’s country’s practice.
Special Acknowledgement: I would like to acknowledge Dr. Hussar for advising and supporting World Congress to allow PCP students to broaden their horizon in the field of pharmacy practice. Also, I sincerely thank Drs. Schwartz, Earl, Melody, Decker, Blustein, as well as all the preceptors, professors, and dedicated IPSF members who gave tremendous support to successfully achieve Student Exchange Program at PCP.
Someone said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” The teachers may come in many forms but the professors whom I worked together for IPSF projects were all in a single form: the inspired.