Every year a group of Washington State University Health Sciences students travel nearly 5,000 miles from home to provide health care services to the people and communities in the Amazon region of Peru. Over the course of three weeks the students are immersed in community while working in clinics across the country.

The goal of the three week trip is to provide experience for both nursing and pharmacy students assessing and implementing global community health. It is organized through a non-profit organization called People of Peru Project, which provides free medical and dental care to impoverished populations.

For student pharmacist the trip is part of their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) rotations. In the final year of pharmacy school, students complete six pharmacy practice APPE rotations. These are immersive and experience-based learning under the supervision of a pharmacy preceptor, and prepare the student for professional practice. A seventh rotation is optional, and some students apply for an international rotation. The WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences offers international options for rotations in Ecuador, Peru, Vietnam, Whales and Africa.

Pharmacotherapy Academic Fellow Nicole Perea had the opportunity to represent the college during the WSU partnered People of Peru Project in in Iquitos, Peru and provided us with a reflection on her time there.

Peru Rotation Reflection

By: Nicole Perea, Pharmacotherapy academic fellow

For the 14th year in a row, WSU has partnered with the People of Peru Project located in Iquitos, Peru.  With 22 students and three faculty members, we worked hard to fulfill the People of Peru Project mission to aid in the relief of human suffering, caring for children, education for self-help and planting the seeds of hope.  Pharmacy was represented by Lindsey Byers, Mikayla Cornwall, Cody Damman, and Linh Nguyen. And boy, did they represent Cougar Pharmacy well! These student pharmacists were pushed out of their comfort zone and were eager to help this community in any capacity. Each student ran the pharmacy during one of the ambulatory care clinics within the community. The students rotated serving on assessment teams partnering with nursing to assess and propose patient care plans for patients. It was clear that this team was a wealth of knowledge for their nursing counterparts, patients, and each other. They developed critical thinking skills in a part of the world where resources were limited. Most importantly, they displayed a sense of empathy that made just as big of an impact on this community as their medical care made. In addition to medical care, this team also preformed community assessments and developed their cultural humility in a way that will always benefit their future practice. Over the course of three weeks, this team of future healthcare providers made a positive impact in Peru and really brought this mission to help and care for others to life.