Global health learning outcomes by country location and duration for international experiences

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American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


Objective. To determine the impact of country income classification and experience duration on learning outcomes for student pharmacists participating in international advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). Methods. A mixed-methods, longitudinal study evaluated 81 fourth-year student pharmacists participating in an international APPE through one of three US universities. A pre-post survey was administered to evaluate students’ self-perceived growth across 13 competencies established by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). The survey included four additional open-ended questions. Student pharmacists were also invited to participate in a focus group. Paired and independent t tests and multiple linear regression were conducted. Qualitative survey and focus group data underwent a two-cycle, open-coding process using conventional content analysis. Results. Students who completed their APPE in a low-to middle-income country had greater growth in all CUGH competency statements compared to those who completed their APPE in a high-income country. Completing the APPE in a low-to middle-income country and prior travel for non-vacation purposes were significant predictors of student growth. Students who went to a low-to middle-income country demonstrated increased cultural sensitivity, more patient-centered care, and skill development, while students who went to a high-income country displayed increased knowledge regarding differ-ences in health care system components, pharmacy practice, pharmacy education, and an appreciation for alternative patient care approaches. Conclusion. Learning outcomes differed between students who completed an APPE in a high-income rather than a low-to middle-income country, with both types of locations providing valuable educational opportunities and professional and personal development.

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