SPAHP a Leader in International Partnerships
SPAHP a Leader in International Partnerships

The School of Pharmacy and Health Professions (SPAHP) has long been a leader in establishing and strengthening international partnerships with universities and colleges. These relationships have brought international students, faculty, delegations and researchers to Creighton’s campus and allowed SPAHP students and faculty opportunities to experience diverse cultures through experiential education, service opportunities, hands-on research, and more. A brief overview of SPAHP’s international connections includes:

Robust partnersSPAHP a Leader in International Partnershipships throughout China. These partnerships allow pharmacy, occupational therapy and physical therapy faculty and students to experience health care and culture in China, while several programs also bring Chinese students and faculty to Creighton to immerse themselves in U.S. culture and our health care and educational systems. Keli Mu, PhD, OTR/L, professor and chair of the Occupational Therapy Department, leads SPAHP’s efforts to foster these partnerships as the director of Asia Health Science International Programs.

“International collaboration is mission-centric for Creighton University,” Mu said, “and it is congruent with the University’s strategic plan and the Creighton Global Initiative.”

Mu said the collaborations benefit both Creighton and its international partners. “We have found that these collaborations and initiatives facilitate the professional and personal development of the participating students from Creighton and the Asian universities, as well as their cultural competency and leadership development. Ultimately, the partnerships help prepare and develop well-rounded global citizens.”

Creighton Rehabilitation International Summer Program (CRISP). This three-month summer immersion program is for international rehabilitation students and faculty interested in learning occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) in the United States. Participants complete educational modules taught by Creighton OT and PT faculty focused on rehabilitation across the lifespan. Participants also are immersed into clinical practice, with multiple observations in local hospital and community-based OT and PT clinics.SPAHP a Leader in International Partnerships

Cultural immersion experiences through the program include interactions with Creighton students, local cultural outings, participation in the Omaha Chinese Cultural Association and a sightseeing excursion to Chicago. Some students participate in CRISP prior to applying for a professional program at Creighton, such as occupational therapy (OTD) or physical therapy (DPT).

China Honors Interprofessional Program (CHIP). This cross-cultural program promotes international collaboration among Creighton health science schools and a medical university and hospital in China. SPAHP students experience a new health care perspective as they interact with health care professionals from a different culture. 

Several Chinese partners have hosted Creighton OT students for Level I fieldwork and the Doctoral Experiential Component (DEC). Entry-level OTD students spend from 10 days to eight weeks in one of our partner hospitals learning about OT practice in China. The students’ cultural immersion includes opportunities to treat patients and provide education to Chinese rehabilitation students. This opportunity will be expanded to pharmacy in 2018. 

Rehabilitation Graduate Programs. International students can apply to a Creighton-based graduate program called the Master of Science in Rehabilitation (MS-Rehab) with a focus in occupational therapy or the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MS-OT), which provides foreign-trained rehabilitation professionals an advanced degree in clinical and translational rehabilitation science. The clinical focus of the MS-Rehab or MS-OT programs is on the role of occupational therapy in addressing musculoskeletal, neurological and psychosocial disorders across the lifespan. The academic focus of the degrees is preparing and facilitating development of rehabilitation clinical scholars in academic and health care environments to assume leadership roles as faculty, managers and clinical experts. 

SPAHP a Leader in International PartnershipsInstitute for Latin American Concern. Through Creighton’s Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) programs, SPAHP students participate in service-learning immersion experiences in the Dominican Republic. For over 40 years, ILAC health professions programs have provided students opportunities to immerse themselves into the lives and culture of Dominicans by providing various medical therapies. The physical therapy program recently reached a milestone of 20 years of service to the Dominican Republic through ILAC.

Visiting Scholars and Students. Since 2008, Creighton and SPAHP have hosted international visiting scholars, practitioners and students who are seeking to advance their knowledge of global health care education, research and clinical practice. They participate in classes and clinical rotations and, at the same time, provide education on their culture, health care systems and universities to SPAHP students and faculty.

Here is a list of SPAHP’s established and growing international partnerships with universities, colleges, hospitals and clinics.

  • Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shanghai, China
  • Nanjing Medical University in Nanjing, China
  • Kunming Medical University in Yunnan Province, China
  • Fujian University of Traditional Chinese in Fujian, China
  • Sichuan University in Chengdu, China
  • Hebei Medical University in Shijiazhuang, China
  • Shijiazhuang Central Hospital in Shijiazhuang, China
  • No. 3 Hospital of Hebei Medical University in Shijiazhuang, China
  • Xian-Jiong Medical University and Hospital in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China
  • Inner Mongolia Medical University in Inner Mongolia Providence, China
  • Yonsei University in Wonju, Korea
  • Brunel University in London, England
  • Tohoku University of Community Service and Science in Yamagata, Japan
  • University of Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile
  • ILAC/CESI (Centro de Educacion para la Salud Integral) Santiago, Dominican Republic

SPAHP hopes to expand into the Middle East and India with the help of pharmacy science professor Naser Alsharif, PharmD, MS, PhD, who is assuming a new role as coordinator of International Programs – Middle East and India.

“This expansion is certainly a worthy endeavor at the individual and institution level,” said Alsharif.

SPAHP a Leader in International Partnerships“For us in the health sciences, it is a mechanism to help us address the common issues we face in education and practice by sharing with, learning from, collaborating with and building trust and understanding among governments, institutions and individuals for sustainable relationships.”

Strategically, SPAHP wants to encourage innovation in curriculum design and delivery to provide a purposeful global perspective; and empower, inspire, and motivate faculty and students to contribute to solving the issues facing the global village. On an individual professional level, it would be about enrichment, professional development, opportunities for collaboration, and appreciation and understanding of other cultures. On a student level, the hope would be to seek out new horizons, perspectives and opportunities to make a difference, and striving for cultural sensitivity and humility.  Such efforts should be bidirectional to benefit individuals and institutions across borders with respect for ethnic, regional, and national identities and how they can enrich and improve on education and practices here in the U.S.

SPAHP is finalizing proposals to provide non-U.S. pharmacists with an opportunity to obtain the highly sought out Pharm.D. degree and a certificate proposal to provide one-year clinical experiences. In addition, SPHAP is interested in establishing a mechanism to facilitate the process of faculty and student exchange programs. Further, through organizations like the American Pharmacist Association- Academy of Student Pharmacists (APHA-ASP), SPAHP is trying to formalize the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF), the leading international advocacy organization for pharmacy students with the aim to promote improved public health through provision of information, education, networking and professional initiatives. 

 Learn more about all Creighton health science international partnerships here.