by Public Relations
For the pharmacy faculty at Cedarville University, being a pharmacist is more than just standing behind a counter, handing out drugs.
Instead, they’ve made their profession a ministry and use their skills to serve others. And because they’re also educators, the faculty members make a point to provide their students with real-world experiences that will get them into the field early.
Jeff Huston, R.Ph., serves as instructor of pharmacy practice and director of student and professional development for the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy. Recently, Huston spent 10 days in Honduras with students from the College of Nursing and the College of Pharmacy at The Ohio State University (OSU). This missions trip, organized through World Gospel Mission, allowed the 37-person team to treat over 2,000 patients from six villages.
“We also hosted two educational health fairs at local Honduran schools where we presented posters, taught CPR and did blood pressure and blood glucose screenings,” says Huston.
In addition, the team took medicine and supplies to leave with the missionaries serving in the area so they could provide follow-up care to the locals. “By leaving the missionaries with supplies and medicine, we can diagnose and treat chronic disease states like diabetes and hypertension instead of only treating acute symptoms as some missions trips do,” Huston adds.
This missions trip doubles as an educational experience for OSU students. Initially, the faith-based bent of the program made OSU skeptical. As a compromise, Huston took a student with him as part of an independent study.
“When he got back, the student gave a presentation detailing what the team accomplished on the trip. A visitor from the OSU medical center happened to visit that day and listened in on the student’s presentation and mentioned that the college should do more things like that.” When told he could do a pilot trip for credit the following year, Huston immediately began organizing it.
“When we treat the Hondurans’ physical needs, it opens the door to plant a seed to treat their spiritual needs as well,” adds Huston. “About one third of each year’s team is made up of Christians, and that one third is an awesome witness tool to the other two thirds of our own team that are not.”
“My initial draw to pharmacy was simply my impression that it was a respected profession, science/healthcare-based and associated with a desired quality of life,” says Jeff Lewis, Pharm.D., associate dean of the School of Pharmacy. “But God has made it much more than that for me.”
Lewis’s Nicaraguan missions trip, sponsored by Global Health Outreach, took place over four days in November 2010. The 33-person team was primarily concerned with serving a variety of medical, dental and optometric needs in the small community of Cuapa. During their short time, the team administered care to more than 2,000 people and witnessed nearly 300 of them accept Christ as Lord and Savior.
“One of the blessings of healthcare is the opportunity to meet the physical needs of people, and that opens opportunities to meet their spiritual needs,” says Lewis. “Part of the mission of the School of Pharmacy is to develop exceptional pharmacy practitioners focused on meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients. Our faith in Christ is lived out in the practice of pharmacy.”
Lewis hopes to involve all of Cedarville’s pharmacy students in medical missions at some point during their program. The faculty believes that such an experience — either domestic or international — will equip them to serve people with greater understanding and greater compassion. We believe that it will make them better pharmacists.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,200 undergraduate, graduate, and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.