Pharmacy School offers elective in missions work

January 19, 2006 | Leave a Comment

Jannesah Marion, a third-year pharmacy student from Pennington Gap, Va., has always been interested in missions. She is a born-again Christian and her father, an independent pharmacist, set an example with his mission involvement on the local level. Jannesah would like to carry on his legacy to other parts of the world. The same can be said of pharmacy student Amanda Whiddon, of Lynchburg, Va., who is a past president of the Campbell University chapter of the Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International. "I grew up in a Christian family and was influenced by the life of missionary Lottie Moon," Whiddon said. "We talked about missions a lot in Girls in Action in my church, but I had kind of gotten away from that. I really wanted to put mission work back into my life." Many of the 14 students enrolled in Campbell University's first pharmacy missions course had similar reasons for taking the one credit "mini" elective course designed to prepare them for pharmacy mission opportunities. By participating in a mission trip and completing other work, students can also receive credit for one of their elective one-month rotations required in their fourth year of pharmacy school. "This class was created for students who may be interested in full-time or short-term mission work," said instructor Bill Gentry, a Campbell alumnus and vice president for Medical Affairs at KOS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "It will teach students how to set up a short term mission trip and expose them to medical missions with a particular emphasis on the role of the pharmacist." According to Gentry, who has participated in several mission trips to Haiti, Honduras and Ecuador, the pharmacist's role on these trips can be all-encompassing. "The pharmacist is usually responsible for acquiring all of the medications for the trip, serving as a care provider and coordinating the medical clinic's supplies," said Gentry. "It is really amazing how much is required." The idea for the missions course sprang from a group of faculty and alumni called the Pharmacy Missions Task Force. The task force was appointed by Dean Ronald Maddox and has sought to determine ways that pharmacy missions work could be brought to the attention of Campbell pharmacy students and alumni. The impetus for the appointment of the task force came from a meeting between Josiah Whitehead, assistant dean of External Affairs for the pharmacy school; Bill Taylor, assistant professor of Clinical Research at the Research Triangle Park campus and Corey Furman, who was recently named a Distinguished Alumnus of Campbell University. Jim Boyd, associate professor of Pharmacy Practice; Bob Garrett, assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Larry Swanson, professor and chairman of the department of Pharmacy Practice, also serve on the task force with Bill Gentry, Corey Furman and Bill Taylor.

Photo Copy: Instructor Bill Gentry teaches a course preparing pharmacy students for the mission field at Campbell University's School of Pharmacy.

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