Pharmacy students travel to Thailand in March thanks to agreement

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642
Dir, Media Rel, University Relations
Posted: Dec 2, 2011

Students from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will gain professional experience in Thailand beginning this school year through an agreement with the Faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
The program is known as “U.S.-THAI Student Pharmacists and Pharmacists Exchange Program.” It was established to promote global health through the exchange of international experiences in elective courses in Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) and human resource development in higher education programs.
Dr. Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit, associate professor of pharmacy practice at UH Hilo, drafted the Memorandum of Understanding with Chulalongkorn University that was signed in June.
“I began this process in January 2010 with the support of Dr. Carolyn Ma, and then was encouraged by Dr. Ron Taniguchi and Dr. Lara Gomez, who helped edit the final document. Chris Iha also helped to communicate with the UH legal counsels and UH procedures in making this MOU happen,” said Wongwiwatthananukit, who also is a registered pharmacist in Hawaiʻi, Illinois and Thailand. “To be in the top 25 pharmacy schools, we need to have an international rotation/clerkship for our students and/or faculty to collaborate in terms of teaching and research with faculty/practitioners internationally as well.”
After gaining support of the department and Dean John Pezzuto, Wongwiwatthananukit met with Dean Pintip Pongpech of Faculty of Pharmacy Chulalongkorn University, Dr. Narat Kasettratat and Dr. Thitima Wattanavijitkul, who are the former and current Head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Chulalongkorn University who indicated they would be happy to welcome UH Hilo students to practice over there as an International Elective APPE.
“Not only are we happy to have the involvement of students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, we are hoping to send staff and pharmacy practitioner (preceptors of the school) to get more training at your contemporary pharmacy practice facilities,” Drs. Kasettratat and Wattanavijikul said.
The first two students from the class 2012 will have rotation/clerkship between March 26 - May 4, 2012. Two students from the class of 2013 will work in Bangkok from November to December 2012.
Students will visit and practice in several healthcare sites such as the Ministry of Public Health (i.e., Thai FDA, Pharmacy Consumer Protection agency), a private hospital, a government hospital and community pharmacy.