International Pharmaceutical Experience

By KK VOUTHY | UMKC | 2013 Pharm.D. Candidate

On September 7 three UMKC School of Pharmacy students traveled to Mexico City to present a poster at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics Outcomes Research third Latin America Conference. The poster the students submitted, with guidance from faculty members, was titled Describing Trends and Determinants of Non-opioid Analgesic Prescribing Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in the U.S. Outpatient Settings.

The poster was a finalist for the best poster in the Health Care Use & Policy Studies – Disease Management category. The presentation was open for conference attendees to attend and speak with presenters regarding their findings. UMKC students had an opportunity to meet with researchers from various countries including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, and  the United Kingdom.

“Most of the presentations were not in English, but they had translators you can listen to. There was definitely a language barrier since most people spoke Portuguese or Spanish,” says Fikru.

In between poster presentations, fourth year students Bithia Fikru, Walter Agbor, and KK Vouthy attended various educational lectures about health technology assessment, costs of healthcare, pharmacoeconomics of various disease state management strategies and issues facing Latin American health.

“It was an eye opener to see how advanced the United States utilization of health care technology to make cost effective decisions compared to a Latin American countries , they are in the process development stage,” says Vouthy.

Before they left, the three students experienced Mexico City by taking a self-guided tour of the central portion of Mexico City. They tasted well-cooked –piping-hot street tacos, freshly made tortillas, roasted corn on a stick, and drank from a young coconut with a straw.

They also had a chance to Salsa in the park, every Friday night and all day Saturday people gather around at the park and dance. Instructors, experienced and un-experienced dancers come together to practice and enjoy dancing.

“The people are very warm and affectionate; you can see that everywhere you go. The culture is very romantic,” says Agbor.

On their last day, students were amazed at how committed to health the city was to promote bike riding. Large portions of the historic center of Mexico City were closed to traffic, the weekly event was called Muévete en Bici or Move by Bike. Throughout the area there were bike stations for people to check out bicycles called Ecobicic. Their hotel was centrally located in the historic area; the students had an opportunity to get their morning work, walking many blocks to find a taxi to the airport. The trip was a success; they worked with the University and SOP student services office to ensure a safe trip.

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