South Korea Fall 2016

All the above photos belong to Ashley Kim

South Korea Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE)

Student: Ashley Kim

Ashley Kim, UMB fourth year School of Pharmacy student, participated in a five-week program at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea as part of the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations. Ashley was placed in a lab to explore the development of a diagnosis platform using DNA nanotechnology biosensors. She was oriented to the lab's research by reviewing the relevant published literature, learned laboratory techniques to be able to participate in the research process, and helped to interpret research data. She and other pharmacy students also had the opportunity to visit MSD Korea, Ltd. which is operated as a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. and left with a better understanding of the regulatory processes a product must go through and the diversity of skills and background of employees needed to accomplish this.

"I assisted the Biosensor team in experiments to develop a novel diagnosis platform capable of detecting different disease states, which is expected to be a simple, low-cost and field-friendly detection system. Through these experiments, I learned to appreciate the time and effort put into the research process and how to interpret research data and think critically. Engaging with so many wonderful and passionate healthcare providers and researchers exposed me to many different areas of pharmacy and allowed me to enhance my understanding of medicine.

After successfully completing the rotation, I gained a better understanding of how research is being done. Basic science research is the foundation of medical advancement. As medical advances continue to evolve, it will be crucial for the role of the pharmacist, as a medication expert, to evolve equally as well. This basic medical research rotation taught me the concept of bench to bedside, and the opportunity to be involved at the earliest stage of drug and device development was an invaluable experience as a pharmacy student.

The Korean culture also gave me new perspective in medical practice. Parts of Korean population especially the older generation were keener to follow oriental medicine or folk medicine. Western treatments were considered not as effective and sometime even harmful to the body. After experiencing cultural differences based on age, generation and countries, I was able to gain a wider perspective in being more sensitive in dealing with patient from different ethnic groups.

The experiences and knowledge I gained at Ewha Womans University rotation will contribute to my growth in becoming a more competent and efficient pharmacy leader. This Korea rotation provided me with the opportunity to further develop my clinical knowledge, gain a global perspective on healthcare, and advance my leadership skills to achieve my goal of becoming a well-rounded pharmacist with the skills to better care for my patients. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be able to go to Korea. Having access to opportunities like these make University of Maryland School of Pharmacy so special. I really encourage other students to take advantage of these unique openings as much as possible. I am certainly glad I did."