‘Think globally, act locally’ took on new meaning in 2020
Campbell University students assemble naloxone kits for distribution to high-risk populations through the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.
One benefit of being a member of APhA–ASP is that student pharmacists automatically receive membership in the larger pharmacy family of the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF).
As a member of the International Standing Committee for the past 2 years, I have sought to work with my amazing teams to bring to light all the unique opportunities available through IPSF. I love to see the spark in students’ eyes as they learn about the programs to connect with other students globally through the Student Exchange Program, international conferences, and international leadership opportunities.
But what strikes me most about IPSF is not only the chance to travel to foreign countries and explore their pharmacy worldview, but also to implement the IPSF motto to “Think globally, act locally” in each of the public health initiatives it promotes.
In 2020, this motto took on new meaning as international travel was disrupted and we were faced with a public health crisis—and no choice but to adapt and implement the IPSF goals in new and creative ways.
New global engagement
Early last year, we had to change what it means to “think globally.” Some of the most anticipated travel opportunities were halted with the cancellation of the Student Exchange Program and the postponement of the Pan-American Regional Symposium and World Congress.
Despite this disheartening news, IPSF leadership joined to accomplish the intentions of these experiences. Although these congresses could not be completed in person, the delegates convened virtually to vote during the General Assemblies to allow for a smooth transition of leadership.
In addition, with input from several international vice presidents, we were able to create a virtual student exchange platform for APhA–ASP members to connect with students abroad through ongoing discussion groups.
Student pharmacists have also transformed how they “act locally” in their communities. My committee has been impressed by the chapters’ resiliency as they continue yearly IPSF initiatives and integrate new ones locally across the country. Although large blood drives were not feasible, students still made the Vampire Cup competition possible via individual blood donations. Their combined efforts nationwide led to donations of 170 units of blood so far during the pandemic.
In addition, chapters have hosted webinars featuring international speakers to provide education and combat the growing public health crisis of vaccine hesitancy. Last, we have seen a significant uptake in social media campaigns promoting World Health Days to provide education on both new and existing public health topics.
Just the start
The initiatives completed in 2020 are just the start of further integrating APhA–ASP into the efforts of IPSF. I am hopeful that during this year and in the years ahead, we as student pharmacists can maintain a global mindset while learning how to impact our communities right where we are.
Miranda Craft, BSPS, is a final-year PharmD candidate at The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, 2020–21 APhA–ASP International Standing Committee Chair, and APhA–ASP/IPSF National Student Exchange Officer.