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Three individuals, including one holding a memorandum of understanding, pose for a photo while standing next to a projector screen where three more individuals from Taipei Medical University are posing for a photo via video call.

VCU School of Pharmacy and Taipei Medical University leaders celebrate the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the schools this fall. From left are: Cait Gibson, Pharm.D., interim director of international programs at VCU School of Pharmacy; members of the team from Taipei Medical University via Zoom; K.C. Ogbonna, Pharm.D., dean of VCU School of Pharmacy; and Cynthia Kirkwood, Pharm.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs at VCU School of Pharmacy.

VCU School of Pharmacy and Taipei Medical University in Taiwan have signed a memorandum of understanding that confirms the intention of the institutions to develop collaborative activities in academics and research.

“This agreement has opened the doors for our schools to collaborate, starting with some Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences student exchanges in the coming years,” said Cait Gibson, Pharm.D., M.Ed., interim director of international programs. “We hope the relationship will grow and develop as we expand the ways in which we collaborate.”

The collaboration will allow Pharm.D. students to study in Taiwan as part of their fourth-year rotations, expanding the offerings available to VCU students for international rotations. In exchange, VCU will host TMU students in Richmond.

VCU School of Pharmacy already offers international APPE student exchanges, also called international rotations, in three locations: Ajman, United Arab Emirates; Liverpool, United Kingdom; and Heidelberg, Germany. The rotations offer fourth-year Pharm.D. students a chance to hone their clinical and communication skills and learn how pharmacy is practiced in another country. But beyond practice, Gibson says, the experience gives students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture and broaden their worldview.

A pharmacist and two pharmacy students on an international rotation pose for a photo in a United Arab Emirates pharmacy.
Students Vicky Vo (center) and Tryphena Frimpong (right) study abroad in Ajman, United Arab Emirates, in early spring during their fourth-year rotations. Frimpong and Vo went on to graduate from VCU School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. program in May 2023.

“Students come out of these experiences with a broader global professional network, which is valuable for them as they graduate no matter what pharmacy career they pursue,” Gibson said. “The practice of pharmacy varies vastly from country to country, and there is so much we can learn from each other to elevate patient care. Additionally, students pursuing careers in research may find connections with groups working to solve similar problems. Global collaborations can help us reach our goals more quickly and effectively, ultimately improving the lives of patients.”

Gibson said this partnership with TMU will open up similar pathways for students to those currently offered, a sentiment echoed by K.C. Ogbonna, Pharm.D., MSHA, dean and professor at the VCU School of Pharmacy.

“From classroom experiences to these international offerings, our students achieve a global mindset in the care they provide and the contributions they offer in scientific discovery locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” said Ogbonna, who also serves as the school’s Arthur O. McCalley Chair. “This partnership is one of several ways we are preparing the next generation of pharmacists to consider the perspectives and lived experiences of patients from all cultures and build stronger connections with patients to help them improve their health.”

VCU School of Pharmacy students receive information about international rotations, including rotations at TMU, during their third year in the Pharm.D. program.

Learn more about our Pharm.D. program.

Categories Faculty and staff news, Student news
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