Pharmacy Faculty, Students Complete Pune Medical Mission
Right after the start of 2014, Associate Professor Dr. Christine Birnie, who spent last semester in India as a Fulbright Scholar, welcomed Stephanie Donlon and Eileen Huang, P4 students in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, along with seven other medical professionals from the Rochester community to Pune, India to complete another medical mission.
The team was in Pune from January 4-24, and was also a clinical rotation for Donlon and Huang. They provided support for the Koinonia Medical Clinic in Pune, by conducting a free five-day medical camp complete with triage, hypertension and diabetes screening, doctor checks, pharmacy, dental screenings, reading glass check, and health education. In total, the team saw over 1,500 patients, many from very poor and impoverished situations.
Birnie said the group also held a four-hour women’s health program for over 60 women with the theme of “Beautiful You,” addressing three main areas: beautiful emotions - dealing with stress/tension; physical beautiful - hygiene, nutrition and disease prevention; and intimate beauty – addressing women’s health and sexually transmitted diseases.
“As always, it was a great trip! This was our 6th trip, and with each one, we seem to expand services and meet the needs of the people to a greater level,” said Birnie.
While they were there, the group also participated in several educational programs including a first-aid program in a local orphanage, general health education at a college, and a seminar at a D.Y. Patil Pharmacy School entitled, “Mapping Your Future: Postgraduate Opportunities in the United States” to over 100 students.
This was Donlon’s first mission trip, and she had been interested in participating in one ever since hearing that the School of Pharmacy offered these trips as a clinical rotation. One of her favorite memories from the trip was when the group held the health education session at the orphanage. They educated the girls using skits to get them more involved.
“India was very different from anything else I've ever experienced. In running the free medical camp, we had to use our limited resources judiciously. There were people coming through with serious conditions we couldn't treat, a need for medications that were too costly for us to provide for free, and patients with chronic conditions we could begin treatment for, and had to just hope they would follow up with another physician once we were gone. I wanted to help them the way we would help patients back home, but with the systems in place, that simply wasn't possible,” said Donlon. “It made me very thankful for the care and follow up we can provide here in the U.S., and gave me a different perspective on patient care and how much we really do here in the, whether or not it's always effective and appreciated.”
This was not Huang’s first time on a mission trip, and her interest in exploring and learning about other cultures and how pharmacies operate in different parts of the world sparked her interest in this particular trip. She said the trip made her realize how lucky our country is to have so many resources available to us.
While they were there, the group also participated in several educational programs including a first-aid program in a local orphanage, general health education, and a seminar at a D.Y. Patil Pharmacy School entitled, “Mapping Your Future: Postgraduate Opportunities in the United States” to over 100 students.
Patients at the health clinic.
The "Beautiful You" session in progress.