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Antigua, Guatemala

Providing Pharmacy Services to Help Improve Pharmaceutical Care in An Underserved Community in Guatemala

This Global Academic-Service Learning experiences takes place in Antigua, Guatemala at a hospital-home institution called Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro, which is an organization whose primary purpose is to provide medical care to poor, orphaned, and abandoned individuals with various pathological problems, most of which are psychomotor retardation and cerebral palsy. At this institution, we were able to learn that medication administration is an issue of vital importance in this particular patient population, since many of these patients’ swallowing ability is reduced. Many of the medication dosage forms are not suitable for administration, and various medications are not in liquid form, or the concentration of these forms is reduced so that the volume of administration is increased, which makes management difficult. Multiple of our initiative include: present educational in-service to healthcare professionals regarding proper administration of medications, emphasize the importance of checking and removing expired medications, and help in developing a drug information pamphlet on selected psychotropic medications. In addition, we volunteer at the National Cancer Institute (INCAN) in Guatemala as part of the palliative care team, where we provide educational information regarding medications administration and preparation for palliative care patients.

Two research posters describing our work in Guatemala were presented at the 50th & 51st American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Clinical Meeting in December 2015 and 2016. 

It is St. Johns University’s mission to educate our students for success in a constantly evolving and multicultural world and now more than ever it is important our students are engaged in experiences that can enhance their understanding of other cultures and medical systems. To provide the best pharmaceutical care for our patients in the United States, it is necessary to gain a larger understanding of world cultures and health care needs.

2017 Program Dates: There will be two rotations available – the first will run from June 17th to June 25th; the second will run from September 16th to September 24th.  See the program itinerary.

Faculty Director: Ebtesam Ahmed, Pharm. D., ahmede1@stjohns.edu

Program Fee: The 2017 program fee for the Pharmacy program in Antigua, Guatemala is $1550.  The program fee does not include course tuition or round-trip airfare to Guatemala City.

Application Process: Interested students should attend the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Rotation Fair on January 26th.