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Photo of David Cooper helping patient
Pharm.D. student David Cooper conducts a blood pressure screening on a resident of Puerto Penasco, Mexico, during the medical mission trip. (photo courtesy of Mattie Talley)

Mission to Mexico

UHCOP Pharm.D. Students Give up Part of Winter Break for Mexico Medical Trip Focused on Preventive Care 

While most of their fellow students were diving headlong into R&R with friends and family with the arrival of the winter break, a contingent of UHCOP Pharm.D. students traveled to a small resort-fishing city near Mexico's Baja California on a medical outreach trip Dec. 17-24.

The trip was organized through International Service Learning, an organization that helps plan study abroad trips for students, and the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation, which is affiliated with the American Pharmacists Association.

UH students spent their mornings going door-to-door to speak with residents about the different health care resources that they might not be utilizing. They also educated them on different medications that could help improve their quality of life and manage any diseases that they have.

During the evenings, the students would deliver different seminars where they presented different information about diseases that were common to the area to the residents, such as diabetes and hypertension.

In addition, the students also visited the local hospitals to meet with physicians, where they got the opportunity to assist more residents by checking blood pressure and providing diabetes screenings.

Photo of Mattie Talley
Pharm.D. student Mattie Talley records medication inventory at the mission trip pharmacy. (photo courtesy of Shannon Varghese)

Mattie Talley, a second-year Pharm.D. student, found the experience to be very fulfilling.

“(Our) mission was to spread the word and revamp their view of the health care system (among the residents)," Talley said.

“It’s always rewarding when you have a patient that you feel like you can help.”

With the trip being such a hands-on experience, Joel Kanter, a third-year Pharm.D. student utilized a lot of what he learned in the College of Pharmacy since he’s been attending mission trips as a student for the last three years.

“(Going) down to the basics of how to interact with patients and apply the skills that we’re learning in class, it’s cool because I’ve seen how much more I’m able to help after each year of school,” Kantor said.

The other UH participants in the trip were David Cooper, Kasey Cooper, Callie Downs, Clover Truong, Jane Truong, Lauren Goldberg, Shannon Vargheese and Carolyn Schardt.

-- by Ameena Rasheed