On to the main part of our trip, meetings. With the help of Dr. Andreia Bruno, we were able to book the “Hercules Room” at Monash University-Parkville Campus. Fully equipped with Zoom capable screens and secret cabinets of food and drinks, student leaders discussed not only different projects but also the sustainability and leadership of PharmAlliance student domain. UNC leaders (Clara Kim, Vraj Patel, Jenny Jin, Ember Lu) and Monash University leaders (Alisha Cloti, Kevin Wu, Brandon Pham) were in attendance, while Ruby Akkad from UCL called in from Toronto due to last minute visa issues.
This was the first time that student leaders were able to meet in person. We realized that the value of this face-to-face communication is vital, as the quality of the conversation was much higher and we were able to accomplish much more action items and structures. Ember and I had created meeting agenda templates beforehand, and each school was in charge of different sections of the meeting. Everyone created agendas before their meeting and came well prepared to host the meeting and guide discussions.
The first day was spent mostly discussing PharmAlliance student domain leadership so far. The leaders first drafted a mission statement of PharmAlliance student domain: While aligning with initiatives on the PharmAlliance level at the highest possible extent, collaborate on impactful and challenging pharmacy issues that are common between the US, Australia, and the UK. Then, students discussed about different issues with leadership that came up in effectively leading organizations. Students were able to share their experiences and also give advice on how to overcome obstacles.
The next day was spent on discussing the Medication Safety Comic series. We decided on logistics, themes, and different topics we want to be included in the comic series. While discussing all of the topics, we made sure that our end goal was having an element of collaboration in each step. Collaboration sometimes may be inefficient; In fact, there are tasks that could easily be done if it were just done within one campus group. However, the leaders were eager to implement collaborative portions across the project, as that is the main goal of PharmAlliance itself. Also, students and leaders in PharmAlliance truly value the unique international collaboration we are fortunate to be a part of, and wanted to take full advantage.
The last day was spent discussion the International Case Competition. Vraj Patel and Brandon Pham led the discussions on assessing what was good versus what could be better compared to last year. At the end of the meeting, the leadership team decided to make create interschool teams - i.e. each team will have students from two different countries! This was an exciting development compared to last year, where teams were composed of students in one school. This was again a decision made with the desire to increase collaboration among students across all three countries. We hope that the International Case Competition becomes a unique opportunity for students to learn about each others’ pharmacy practices.