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Taiwanese Get a Taste of Something New

USC School of Pharmacy hosted pharmacy students, faculty and practicing pharmacists from five Taiwanese universities to experience the pharmacy curriculum at USC.
August 3, 2011

This article was originally published by USC News.

by Gabrielle Olya

As part of the USC School of Pharmacy’s dedication to spreading its global reach, the school hosted pharmacy students, faculty and practicing pharmacists from five Taiwanese universities during the month of July.

Participants in the program were given the opportunity to experience a taste of the pharmacy curriculum at USC. The visitors came from the National Taiwan University School of Pharmacy, the Taipei Medical University School of Pharmacy, the China Medical University College of Pharmacy, the Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Sciences and the Kaohsiung Medical University College of Pharmacy.

“This program provides a unique opportunity for us to share knowledge and experiences with some of our partner schools from the Pacific Rim,” said Michael Wincor, associate dean for global initiatives and continuing professional development, who directs the program at the School of Pharmacy.

While at USC, some of the visiting students studied pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics, clinical therapeutics and consultation. Others pursued a drug discovery project. In addition to Wincor, Ron Alkana taught in the clinical program.

Faculty members who taught in the drug design and drug delivery program included Ian Haworth, who coordinated the drug design course, along with Brian Sutch, a 2010 doctoral graduate of the School of Pharmacy, as well as Nouri Neamati, Curits Okamoto and Rebecca Romero.

“It was exciting to learn how drug design works because it’s something I’d never been taught before,” said Julie Weng, a student at Taipei Medical University.

Giving the students a uniquely American experience is part of what Wincor aimed for in the program. In addition to the drug discovery module, he believes the sessions on clinical pharmacy helped make an impact on each of the students.

“We gave the students in the drug design and drug delivery module a flavor of clinical pharmacy,” Wincor said. “One of our goals was for the students to return to Taiwan with new clinical understanding and knowledge and an excitement to expand their practice.”

Cheryl Liu, a student at Taipei Medical University, said: The education system is different here than in Taiwan. There’s more of an emphasis in the United States on the clinical aspects of pharmacy.”

While learning their new material, the students appreciated the variation in teaching styles used at USC.

“I really enjoyed the group discussions, which helped a lot in the learning process,” said Fanny Chen, a student at Taipei Medical University. “We rarely have group discussion in Taiwan.”

USC pharmacy students Tuyet Ho, Jin Kim, Sarah Ma and Joseph Pai were instrumental in making the program a successful venture for the visitors. The program provided USC students with an opportunity to teach the visitors, emphasizing the clinical elements of the pharmacy profession, and to share in social and cultural activities.

“We helped the students settle in, easing them through the transition to the coursework and instructing some of the courses,” Ma said.

When the visitors weren’t occupied with their studies, they enjoyed sightseeing in Los Angeles, taking trips to the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, Santa Monica and Venice Beach.