Ask A Student Diplomat: School Of Pharmacy Takes On Italy (Part 2)

Kathryn KerrAssisi

After Rome we departed for Assisi, which is a quaint town in the Umbria region that overlooks the Italian countryside.

We toured the Basilica of St. Francis, which is sacred to the town. This church is two stories tall-by far the largest we toured. We also got lost in the winding backroads in the town while shopping for souvenirs, but the views of the countryside from Assisi were breathtaking.


Later that same night, we arrived in Perugia, our home for the next three days. Perugia was personally one of my favorite places we visited. Dr. Kurt Wolfgang, associate professor at Duquesne University, gave us a quick walking tour of the town before it got dark. Perugia is exactly what I expected Italian towns to look like.

The next morning, we set off to visit Aboca, which is a herbal pharmaceutical manufacturer in Italy. We visited their museum, which showed the history of herbal medicine and how this company came to be. We watched presentations from pharmacists at Aboca about their herbal medicine. We also toured their manufacturing plant.

Later that night we ventured to a restaurant on the backroads of Perugia, which was one of the best dinners we had on the trip. Nicole, Kayla, Rachael and I really wanted gnocchi so we ordered it from the menu without translating all of the ingredients. It turns out that the gnocchi had ox tail and ear, which turned out to be the most interesting thing we ate on the trip.

We spent the next day at the University of Perugia with a group of Italian pharmacy students. We did a shortened Patient-Based Learning case with the Italians to give them a taste of how patient-centered pharmacy care is done in the United States.

We visited a community pharmacy in Perugia that did compounding and had a distribution center in the basement. It was really interesting to see that a community pharmacy can be that large and have a distribution center because that is financially impossible in the U.S. The pharmacists at the community pharmacy talked to us about the healthcare system, which is completely different than in the U.S. The doctors only work two hours per day, and pharmacists really cannot use their education to its fullest because they are seen as inferior to doctors.

It was interesting to see how the community pharmacies work in Italy, especially since I plan on going into community pharmacy after graduation. We also visited a hospital pharmacy, which I thought was surprisingly small. There were only a few pharmacists for a large hospital. The setup did look similar to hospital pharmacies in the U.S.

For dinner, we met up with the students, and they took us to a pizza place, which ended up being the best pizza I had the entire trip. They took us out for a night on the town and it was a great experience to bond with them.

Check back tomorrow to read more about the trip!

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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