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St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics

The Athletic Department of St. Louis College of Pharmacy offers a variety of athletic activities designed to meet the interests and needs of students, faculty, and staff.

At the intercollegiate level, student athletes compete in NAIA men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, women’s volleyball, women's softball, and men's and women's soccer (New Fall 2014).

The College's intramural program and club sports provide an outlet for those looking to engage in competitive sports without a large time commitment.

Two Eutectic Runners Volunteer in Honduras

Matt McKenzie and Sarah Pollmann in Honduras
Matt McKenzie and Sarah Pollmann

While many of their classmates were enjoying a relaxing vacation on the beach, STLCOP cross country and track runners Matt McKenzie (P2) and Sarah Pollmann (P1) spent their Spring Break volunteering 8-13 hours a day at a hospital pharmacy in Catacamas, Honduras. The two, along with one other P2 STLCOP student, Aimee Jose,  joined a team of 25 health care professionals from Washington University to spend the week providing 1200 Hondurans in need with free health care. Each member of the brigade brought a 50-pound bag of medicine with them from the U.S. to be donated to the hospital pharmacy.

While excited about the trip, both McKenzie and Pollmann were also a bit nervous about the living conditions and safety of traveling to Honduras. Both admitted to immediate culture shock. Their first views of the country came during the long bus ride from the airport to the hospital’s small village, allowing them to soak in some of the Honduran sights so different from the U.S.

The St. Louis hospital brigade in Honduras.
McKenzie and Pollmann pose with members of the
medical team from Washington University
in front of the hospital in Catecamas, Honduras.

“The four-hour ride from the airport would have taken an hour and a half in the U.S.,” said McKenzie. “But, we got to see how people live and drive – there were horses and dogs everywhere. And, the houses primitive houses jutting up against the foothills were sometimes stabilized by car tires.”

As it turned out, the students were housed in a hospital dormitory, which had many of the modern amenities they were used to. But, they were surprised to realize that many Honduran houses have dirt floors and no running water. The students noticed that the living conditions often influenced the ailments of their patients. Cases of lice, and removal of cockroaches and worms from ears were not uncommon. But, they also noticed that, despite the culture and language differences, Hondurans often made the same mistakes with medicine as Americans.

The arrival of their medical brigade had been heavily advertised throughout Honduras via local media, and the announcement that U.S. professionals specializing in pulmonary care, neurology, and gastroenterology would provide free health care for the week drew hundreds of Hondurans each day. Many of the patients travelled for hours to reach the hospital and then wait in line for several more hours. Though the clinic did not open until 7:30am, people began lining up by 5:30am each morning outside the building.

Line for free clinic in Honduras
Patients began lining up at 5:30 a.m. to get
into the free hospital clinic.

Most patients did not speak English and many could not read. McKenzie and Pollmann knew only rudimentary Spanish, so counseling patients was a challenge. Often they pantomimed and used the “teach-back” method they had practiced in class. In this way, they asked patients to show them they understood by teaching the instructions back to them.

Despite the exhaustion of seeing 200-250 patients a day, McKenzie and Pollmann, who are both national cross country qualifiers, started each day with a one-hour run through the country side. They ran with the leader of the brigade, Dr. Mario Castro, because he knew the area well and spoke Spanish. The roads were all dirt, so a rainy night meant a less dusty run. (McKenzie noted that he was not surprised to see so many asthma cases at the clinic after witnessing the dust from outside and the smoke from the indoor cooking stoves in most homes.) They ran through small villages where not many outsiders ventured and encountered many stray dogs. They usually returned from the morning run greeted by a beautiful sunrise over the mountains and a long line at the clinic.

As the week went on and they became accustomed to the culture, the students found themselves enjoying the unique aspects of living in Honduras and the lifetime experience of the trip. They devoured the terrific traditional Honduran food served to them daily. The hired security for the hospital, staff, and medicine made them feel safe. And, despite the long hours and hard work, they found pleasure in helping those in need. “It was an incredible experience,” Pollmann said. “We didn’t want to leave at the end of the week.”

To that end, McKenzie would like to see a St. Louis College of Pharmacy clinical rotation set up there by the time he reaches his sixth year of pharmacy school. While safety is an issue, McKenzie hopes the positive testimony of his spring break experience might influence the College’s view of such a site. If not on rotation, both McKenzie and Pollmann hope to return to the hospital in Honduras as part of another spring break brigade in the future.

Upon returning to St. Louis, McKenzie and Pollmann helped organize an over-the-counter medicine collection drive at STLCOP to benefit the hospital in Honduras. The drive, sponsored by the pharmacy leadership organization Phi Lambda Sigma, of which McKenzie is president, collected 100 pounds of medicine from the STLCOP community to be shipped to Honduras.

Matt McKenzie in Honduras pharmacy
Matt McKenzie stands in the hospital 
pharmacy in Honduras.

Both Pollmann and McKenzie agreed the trip changed their life perspective and helped them grow as individuals and future pharmacists. 

“Before going, I took a lot of simple things for granted,” Pollmann said. “I realize now how lucky I am to live where I do and to have the opportunity to receive such a great education.”

“The trip definitely showed me that every patient has their own struggle,” said McKenzie. “What Honduras lacks in healthcare they make up for in faith, gratitude, and a strong desire to live compared to the US. In the US it becomes too easy to judge and disrespect people without knowing them. When I left Honduras I promised myself that I would always give every single patient equal respect and care regardless of who they were on the inside and outside when I become a pharmacist.”

Basketball Clinic Honors Coach

The Eutectic women's basketball team hosted a clinic stressing the "Champions of Character" aspect of sports. Read More

Soccer Team Leads Clinic

Wendy Andrade instructs kids at the clinic.

Wendy Andrade works with students at
Saul Morowitz school.
Photo by Myra Miller.

The Eutectic women’s soccer team hosted a clinic at Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community elementary school on Sunday, Nov. 23, to introduce kindergarten through fourth-grade students to the basics of soccer, as well as the lessons of character that can be learned through athletics. 20 elementary students participated in the two-hour program which was part of a larger initiative at the school, designed by St. Louis College of Pharmacy adjunct instructor Myra Miller, to introduce the benefits of athletics to the students.

The rainy weather forced the program inside, but that didn’t affect the enthusiasm of those involved. The Lady Euts engaged the students with basic soccer training skills while challenging the students to employ the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character (integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership) in sports and their daily lives. The Mirowitz players signed a Champions of Character letter (just like the NAIA college athletes do) confirming their commitment to knowing, doing, and valuing the right things in all areas of life.

Second-year midfielder, who was in charge of organizing the Eutectic team, found the experience rewarding.

Members of the women's soccer team at the clinic.
Eutectic soccer players pause for a group
photo during the clinic.
Photo by Myra Miller.

“My favorite part of this experience was being able to voluntarily help out an amazing group of kids who are not fortunate enough to have sports foundation at their school,” Andrade said. “It was very eye-opening seeing their dedication and their willingness to learn about the sport.”

The St. Louis College of Pharmacy women’s basketball team will host a similar clinic at the school in December.

STLCOP Named NAIA Five-Star Institution

five star medallion

St. Louis College of Pharmacy has achieved the NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star designation for the 2013-14 academic year. Institutions are measured on a demonstrated commitment to the NAIA Champions of Character program and earned points in character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion. Institutions earned points based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by having minimal to no ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year. This is the first year St. Louis College of Pharmacy has earned the award.

  


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