For the past two years, two Pharmacy students (Malorie Katch
and Sean McGlothlin in 2012, and Devin DeCator and Paige
Procter in 2013) took the Iowa course as an elective and joined
students studying Mexican culture, intercultural competency
and effective teamwork. Accompanied by Hanson, they traveled
with more than 70 Rotarians and Iowa faculty and students
majoring in dentistry, engineering, business, liberal arts and, of
course, pharmacy, on the March trips to Mexico.
The Pharmacy students provided anti-parasitic (deworming)
medication to 3,500 preschool through sixth grade students
at 16 schools and at a local orphanage over a five-day period.
The children are given a chewable anthelmintic drug to prevent
intestinal parasites often found in those living in low-income
areas without access to clean water.
Pharmacy students serve in various roles during the day-long
clinics, from Student Pharmacist in Charge to managing
medication, supplies, records, site logistics and transportation.
“There are huge advantages to participating in an international
effort like this,” Hanson said. “Students need these experiences
to be an effective pharmacist here.”
While the program is designed to enhance students’ knowledge,
understanding and leadership skills for their primary disciplines,
it also impacts their personal growth.
DeCator, a fourth-year Pharmacy student from Lowell, said she
was thankful for the opportunity to use her training to help
others and for the exposure to another culture.
“I think by having skills that not everyone possesses, I’m doing
my part to give back in the best way I can,” she said. “It was an
incredibly eye-opening experience, and I would do it again in a
DeCator said she was touched by the appreciation shown by
“At every school we went to, we were given gifts of some sort to
thank us for bringing medicine, from a song and dance to paper
flowers and notes to real plants,” she said. “Even the children
seemed to know the importance of (the medication), and even
if they thought it was the grossest thing they ever tasted, they
were grateful and thankful, and that is something I will
That’s exactly what Hanson hoped for.
Hanson, who recently accepted a position with Manchester
University in South Bend, Ind., and returned to her residency
clinic, still plans to help fuel Ferris’ continued collaboration
with Iowa and development of a more autonomous relationship
with the host city.
Continued on page 7