September 25, 2021
Story by the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Office of Global Engagement
Today marks the 11th annual World Pharmacists Day – a day celebrating pharmacists around the world with the theme Pharmacy: Always trusted for your health.
With this year’s theme in mind, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy would like to recognize and thank all of our partners, at home and around the world, as they work to earn the trust of patients by delivering high quality healthcare and education in the communities they serve.
The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s strategic plan, BEYOND, highlights our commitment to serving communities in North Carolina, the United States, and the world as leaders and problem solvers for pressing health care challenges.
The Office of Global Engagement within the School honors this commitment by supporting and connecting faculty, staff, and students with researchers, educators, and practitioners around the world. The Office of Global Engagement is also dedicated to supporting the University’s strategic plan, Carolina Next, which highlights the importance of strengthening global partnerships, bringing the world to Carolina for global programming, and guaranteeing a global education to all students, as outlined in Strategic Initiative 7: Globalize.
From our international partnerships with PharmAlliance and the Global Pharmacy Scholars Program to our educational programs like Innovations and Transformations in Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Office of Global Engagement is proud to support both the BEYOND and Carolina Next strategic plans while serving the School, our communities, and our partners.
We are thrilled to highlight a few local and global collaborations and initiatives in honor of World Pharmacist Day 2021:
- Through the Malawi Pharmacy Initiative – an innovative partnership between the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC-Project Malawi, and Kamuzu Central Hospital – pharmacists from both the United States and Malawi are collaborating on several projects that aim to address health inequities within Malawi by advancing the pharmacy profession through research and education. These efforts are being led by a recently hired local Malawian pharmacist, Hanna Kumwenda. Ms. Kumwenda has been instrumental in promoting the role of pharmacists in Malawi and garnering increased trust from both other members of the healthcare team and the public through several successful initiatives that showcase the knowledge and expertise of pharmacists and the important role they can play in patient care.
- Dennis Williams is supporting the pharmacy profession globally by working closely with several international pharmacy partners in order to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to gain the trust of their patients and improve health in their country. To do this, he has presented a comprehensive seminar to pharmacists in Moldova about the various COVID-19 vaccinations they may encounter in their practice, and he also traveled to Limon, Honduras to work alongside local healthcare professionals to provide pharmacy care services. Also in Honduras, he has supported the development of a telemedicine service that ensures all clinicians and patients have access to pharmacists.Our continuing efforts in global engagement have a particular significance as we try to sustain our momentum in collaborations with others, and in providing health care to underserved populations.
- Through our global PharmAlliance partnership, UNC pharmacy students had the opportunity to learn how to address vaccine hesitancy and become Vaccine Champions. Students were able to attend a workshop, led by fellow student Isabel Cheng, and UNC faculty mentors Dr. Sachi Ozawa and Dr. Amanda Savage. The curriculum was originally developed at University College London by pharmacy student Nusayba Ali and faculty mentors Dr. Sudax Murdan and Dr. Diane Ashiru-Oredope. The curriculum was designed to enable pharmacy students to tackle vaccine hesitancy among their communities. Read more about how students’ conversations with family and friends are changing unsure minds about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- UNC Pharmacy students stepped up to act as trusted healthcare professionals for a global health problem right here in North Carolina earlier this year. Health Officials in Buncombe County, North Carolina, partnered with the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to engage local pharmacy students to help the county administer COVID-19 vaccines. As part of their curriculum, the pharmacy students completed an emergency training course. The training course prepared the students to serve as volunteer frontline workers for the county and assist with the coronavirus vaccine, COVID-19 testing, and the flu vaccine. Including the students as frontline workers was essential in providing critical staffing for the county in the wake of the pandemic.
As seen through the great work highlighted above, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is committed to improving health both locally and around the world by providing trusted care and education. On World Pharmacists Day, the School would again like to recognize all pharmacists committed to being trusted healthcare professionals working to serve patients and tackle global health challenges.