Pharmacy students' rotation spins them half a world away

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | October 21, 2013

Image with caption: From left, Lingli Zhang, M.D., chief pharmacist and director of pharmacy at West China Second University Hospital and adjunct professor of pharmacy practice at UNMC, P4 students Mike Dibble and Casey Koch, and Keith Olsen, Pharm.D., chair of pharmacy practice, pose proudly with Dibble and Koch in their new white coats in Chengdu, China. Dibble and Koch are the first UNMC students to have completed pharmacy rotations in China.

From left, Lingli Zhang, M.D., chief pharmacist and director of pharmacy at West China Second University Hospital and adjunct professor of pharmacy practice at UNMC, P4 students Mike Dibble and Casey Koch, and Keith Olsen, Pharm.D., chair of pharmacy practice, pose proudly with Dibble and Koch in their new white coats in Chengdu, China. Dibble and Koch are the first UNMC students to have completed pharmacy rotations in China.

There are pharmacy rotations, and then there are pharmacy rotations.

Mike Dibble and Casey Koch recently returned from a rotation at Sichuan University's West China Second University Hospital in Chengdu, China.

The fourth-year pharmacy students are the first from UNMC and among the select few from the U.S. to have completed pharmacy rotations in China.

West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University (WCSUH-SCU), is one of China's leading women's and children's hospitals, with a research institute and two journal-editorial offices. It is UNMC's first and only pharmacy rotation hospital in China.

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The UNMC visitors were greeted by university officials and faculty.
Upon arrival, Dibble and Koch underwent a special white coat ceremony welcoming them to WCSUH-SCU. Dezhi Mu, M.D., president of the hospital and deputy director of China's Society of Neonatology, personally presented the white coats.

WCSUH-SCU arranged for Dibble and Koch to shadow the hospital's clinical team, with department directors taking a special interest in their progress. The UNMC P4 students learned about the pharmacy practice and accessibility of health care in China, as well as traditional Chinese medicine and other aspects of Chinese culture and health care. Each gave presentations at the Young Pharmacist Forum of the Fourth National Gynecology and Obstetrics Pharmacy Annual Conference.

They worked under the supervision of preceptor Lingli Zhang, M.D. Dr. Zhang is chief pharmacist and director of pharmacy at WCSUH-SCU and a national leader on several Chinese scientific committees. She is one of two country leaders for China in the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Medicines Alliance and has edited five journals.

"We're very appreciative to have a friend like her in China," said Keith Olsen, Pharm.D., chair of pharmacy practice.

Dr. Zhang has been to UNMC in the past as a visiting scholar as part of a Chinese Scholarship Council program. She's since made additional visits and become adjunct faculty at UNMC.

The rotation was collectively developed by Dr. Zhang, and UNMC College of Pharmacy professors Dr. Olsen and Dong Wang, Ph.D.

The relationship with WCSUH-SCU was first developed by Dr. Wang, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China.

The P4 students moved almost immediately to their next rotations -- these, back home in Nebraska.

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