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Pharmacy 2013, 1(1), 16-33; doi:10.3390/pharmacy1010016
Article

Addressing Cultural Competency in Pharmacy Education through International Service Learning and Community Engagement

1,* , 2
,
2
,
2
 and
3
1 Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada 2 Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2405 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada 3 Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 May 2013 / Revised: 23 July 2013 / Accepted: 1 August 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
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Abstract

This paper describes the design, implementation and evaluation of a course in international service learning and community engagement for pharmacy undergraduate students. The course offered students opportunities to cultivate cultural competency in an international setting foreign to their own—Sub-Saharan Africa. The experience consisted of pre-departure preparation seminars followed by subsequent community immersion to experience, explore and confront personal attitudes and perceptions. A key feature of this course was its emphasis on a continuing cycle of learning, community engagement and reflection. Three students participated, a near-maximum cohort. Their daily self-reflections were qualitatively analyzed to document the impact of their cultural learning and experiences and revealed meaningful learning in the domains of self-assessment and awareness of their personal and professional culture, exposure to a participatory health delivery model involving the patient, the community and a multidisciplinary team and opportunities to engage in patient care in a different cultural setting. This proof-of-concept course provided students with experiences that were life-changing on both personal and professional levels and confirmed the viability and relevance of international service learning for the pharmacy field within its university-wide mandate.
Keywords: cultural competence; international service learning; undergraduate pharmacy education cultural competence; international service learning; undergraduate pharmacy education
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Kassam, R.; Estrada, A.; Huang, Y.; Bhander, B.; Collins, J.B. Addressing Cultural Competency in Pharmacy Education through International Service Learning and Community Engagement. Pharmacy 2013, 1, 16-33.

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