KarenBeth Bohan, associate professor of pharmacy practice in Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and Nursing, has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist Grant in public/global health to work with Makerere University in Uganda. Under the grant, Bohan will work with faculty in the African university’s pharmacy program to develop better curriculum for clinical training for pharmacy students. She also will develop training for pharmacists already working in hospitals.
The Fulbright Specialist Grants are designed to pair experts in a variety of fields with organizations and educational institutions to work on educational or administrative projects. The goal is that projects funded by the grants will be something that the sponsoring institution can continue after the consultant ends his or her work.
The grant covers 42 days – six weeks – of travel to the sponsoring institution. It pays for international travel and a stipend for the specialist. The host country and institution pays for housing, transportation and food. Travel may be organized in a single trip or split into three, two-week trips, which must be taken within a year of receiving the grant.
Bohan will travel three times to Uganda, with her first trip scheduled for March 1, 2014. Additional housing support from Makerere will enable her to stay four weeks instead of two. Unlike the pharmacy program at Wilkes, which awards students a doctor of pharmacy degree at the end of six years of study, the pharmacy program at the African university awards a bachelor’s degree. It provides minimal hands-on experience in hospitals and other health-care settings, primarily emphasizing theory and classroom instruction. Bohan’s project will expand clinical practice for the Makerere students.
“I will be working with professors to develop clinical pharmacy skills, including patient counseling, making dosage recommendations, researching drug interactions and learning how to interact with and talk to health-care providers,” Bohan explains, adding that training received by Wilkes pharmacy students already emphasizes those skills.
Her work at Makerere is an outgrowth of Bohan’s earlier trips to Uganda and Tanzania, which began in summer 2011. At that time, Bohan accompanied James Merryman, Wilkes professor of sociology and anthropology, on a trip where she conducted a pilot research project to assess the impact of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education initiatives of Busoga Trust America in the Masindi District of Uganda. Busoga Trust America is a non-profit organization that provides wells and sanitation in Masindi, a rural district. On that trip, she also began working with Makerere University in Uganda, arranging exchanges for faculty and students.
Since that initial trip, Bohan has made several trips with Wilkes students. While in Uganda, she and her students have done presentations for Makerere students on clinical pharmacy practice in the United States. In addition, in November and December 2013, Wilkes hosted two pharmacists from Uganda for eight weeks to become certified in advanced pharmaceutical care training.