Posted By: Matt Peterson on April 20, 2012

Labels: Costa Rica, El Salvador , Volunteers

As part of National Volunteer Week we are highlighting one of our many outstanding volunteers every day this week! 

Meet Emily Kirchner 

National Volunteer Week

Emily Kirchner , a senior pharmacy student at the Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy in Winchester, Virginia is one of HOPE’s student volunteers. From Mount Jackson, Virginia Emily has donated more than 220 volunteer hours to Project HOPE, working onboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship and ashore in El Salvador and Costa Rica in 2011.  

This mission, a partnership between Project HOPE, the U.S. Navy and other NGOs, was called Continuing Promise 2011 and sailed for four months, providing medical outreach to underserved populations throughout the Caribbean, Central, and South America. 

Emily spent five-weeks onboard the ship preparing medications for the shore clinics, answering medical information questions, and working with their preceptor, Dr. Earl Rogers, on improving skills and knowledge.  At the MEDCAPs, Emily worked with multi-disciplinary medical professionals, in both general medicine and pediatric settings, to review, label, and dispense medications, as well as provide patient education. On some days the pharmacy saw over 600 individual patients.  She also provided lectures and presentations, on topics such as parasitic disease and treatment options. 

“The most intense aspect of this experience was observing the health care disparities,” Emily says. “The most rewarding part was working with a team of nurses, dentists, veterinarians, surgeons, and pharmacists representing different organizations and services including the Canadian Army and Dutch Army and Navy. I met many of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing – excellent mentors connecting their professional skills to service.”   

Since 2009, Project HOPE has partnered with Shenandoah University to place fourth-year pharmacy students, like Emily, on missions around the world giving these students an opportunity to participate in global outreach while they provide needed health education, clinical services and humanitarian assistance.  

 “I have always felt compelled to be involved in health care and service professionally and personally.  In my final year of pharmacy school I was excited to learn about the possibility of joining Project HOPE on a mission,” Emily says. “I knew immediately that this opportunity aligned perfectly with my education, interests, and commitment to global citizenship and professional service.  I was very fortunate to join the other incredible volunteers from HOPE.” 

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