LIU Pharmacy students were given the opportunity to expand their studies through work in Thailand as part of an International Elective Advance Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) led by Dr. Suzanna Gim, assistant professor of pharmacy. Ready to embark on a new horizon, students were first acclimated with the native language. In Bangkok, four LIU Pharmacy students learned about the differences in community pharmacy practice in comparison to the United States.
“We arrived ready to learn the culture and visit various universities,” said student Julie Samuel. “Our group was able to participate in sight-seeing and activities together, so we were off to a great start.”
Students also worked with the Faculty of Pharmacy at Mahidol University. LIU students spent three days at the University, attending lectures about Thailand’s healthcare system. Topics included the drug selection process for Thai pharmacies’ essential drug list, as well as different types of insurance coverage Thai citizens receive. Exploring the school, lecture rooms, and Mahidol’s drug information center, students then ventured through the streets of Bangkok, eventually arriving at their next destination; Bumrungrad International Hospital, a hospital known for its medical tourism. People of many different nationalities, including Middle Eastern and Australian expatriates and wealthy Thai natives, visit the hospital to gain an understanding of healthcare in Thailand.
The LIU group then moved on to the countryside and the city of Ubon Ratchathani. Students visited three different hospitals and pharmacies, observing outpatient pharmacies and government primary care clinics, and meeting with HIV and oncology specialists. For the students who accompanied Dr. Gim, the opportunity to tour Thailand’s most prestigious hospitals and pharmacies was one of the greatest opportunities they’ve had as part of their education. The opportunity to see the contrast between a true universal healthcare system with formally incorporated culture-driven herbal/non-medical interventions and the U.S. healthcare system in which they are preparing to work was a profound experience.