Reflection #1: Clarissa Ko, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Pon talked about medical mission trips and her personal experiences during her own trips she went on. Her struggles of not qualified to partake in these trips resonated with me. It wasn’t until she came across a guy she met in Cambodia who found out that she was a pharmacist and told her that she was a doctor and needed to help the people there that she really thought deeper about making it a reality. Overcoming this lack of confidence is a keeper that I plan on applying throughout my life during my professional and personal life. Differentiating my wants and the reality of things by being more confident and putting deeper thoughts into my decisions is something I want to improve on and continually apply.
Dr. Pon continued on with her presentation by addressing issues that arose during her trips, such as unpredictable weather, language barriers and, ways in which her and her team worked around them. Also, she asked questions such as, “Why go on mission trips?” and “Is medical mission for me?” to get us all thinking about factors that help people decide if they want to go on one. Issues such as mortality rates in other countries, lack of health care infrastructure, and uneasy feelings (due to uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and uncleanliness) need to be thought over before committing oneself to joining. Lastly, Dr. Pon mentioned ways in which teams prepare for the trips, such as fundraising, studying the culture, formulary planning, and paperwork for customs were essential things to take care of beforehand. Overall, Dr. Pon shared her experience and opened our eyes to the different stages, possibility anxieties, and procedures needed to be performed before joining and committing to the strenuous yet rewarding journey of going on medical mission trips.
Reflection #2: Nancy Nguyen, PharmD 2019
Dr. Doreen Pon’s presentation was about the following: how to go on a medical mission trip, why we should participate, and what are the pharmacists’ duties. She also shared some personal experiences from her medical mission trip to Guatemala and Haiti. To go on a medical mission trip, we would first need to find a mission through either school organizations, websites such as Medicalmissions.org, or a faith-based organization. A few of the reasons why most people go on a medical mission trip is because they want to help people. Many countries such as Haiti and Guatemala have almost doubled the number of child and adult mortality rates compared to the United States. As a pharmacist, Dr. Pon dispensed medications, did patient counseling, and even participated in special projects such as making spacers out of water bottles when teaching the patients on how to use an inhaler.
One “keeper idea” that I obtained from this presentation was that Dr. Pon was able to take away more from the experience with medical missions than how much she was actually contributing. After being in the profession for some time, work eventually felt like it was a daily task. With the medical mission trip, Dr. Pon was able to renew her excitement with her profession and realized the reason why she initially wanted to go into healthcare. This “keeper idea” will be useful in my life when I consider doing any sort of volunteer work. Although helping others is already rewarding enough, I feel like I will be able to gain more from the experiences and the people that I meet through the volunteer opportunity just like Dr. Pon did through her medical mission trip.