2014 Mission Guatemala: Day One- a glimpse at the Pharmacy

The 2014 Mission is underway

Day One-Everyone arrived safely in Guatemala on Sunday November 16. The following day, they made their way to the site of the mission.

Day 1 Guatemala

Pharmacy Team’s Perspective: PharmD Candidates

We arrived in Guatemala not knowing what to expect. There are 15 of us in total, made up of physicians, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists and us, pharmacy students. We were the only ones who were inexperienced in that everyone else had been working in their field for at least a year.

In preparation for this mission, our GPG group raised over $6,000 in donation and approximately $3,000 in medications. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that although we had medication to treat chronic disease states, it was not possible to treat patients long term because we would only be here for one week and these medications require follow up and careful administration. We then changed our thought process to try and treat the patients acutely in the best way we could with what we have.

We started the day by gathering all of our bags filled with medicine and supplies and started to organize what became our “pharmacy”. Coming into this mission trip we didn’t expect to have a lot to work with and we knew we wouldn’t be provided with all that was available in America. We had a plan before arriving, and thought we would have to be working off of one table and boxes and knew we would have to adapt to what was provided for us once getting to the site. Our pharmacy is currently made up of a table, book shelf and a metal shelving unit that was made by the community once we arrived, which is more than what we expected.

The patients started flooding in and everyone was delegated a task. It was amazing to see all of the different professions working together, and sometimes not even in their field, to achieve the best patient care possible. It really showed that even though everyone has their own specialty, we all have the same goal, and that was to help and heal our patients.

Our pharmacy was the patient’s last stop. We gathered their patient intake form and filled their prescriptions. Counseling them was the hardest part. We are familiar communicating with patients in America, but here there was a very obvious language barrier. The most helpful person in our pharmacy was our translator. She enabled us to effectively communicate important counseling points and directions for our patients to ensure they were going to use their medications correctly and would not have been able to achieve our goals without her.

As pharmacy students, being able to have this experience is life changing and really brings what we have learned in the classroom to real life. We all came on this trip to be selfless. We see the struggles in our own country’s healthcare system, but knowing an underdeveloped country like Guatemala has the same struggles without sustainable means to improve their healthcare system, we obviously felt compelled to help. Today was a very successful day and we look forward to helping even more patients in the days to come.

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2014 Mission: Guatemala November 16-23, 2014

Once again, The Global PenicillinGirl Project will return to Guatemala in 2014. We are currently in the process of planning our mission and more information will be forthcoming in the following weeks.

We will travel to Guatemala November 16-23, 2014. Check back often for updated information. There are several fundraising opportunities that we will be presenting very soon!!!

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2013 Global Penicillingirl Project Mission in Guatemala

In November 2013, The Global Penicillingirl Project returned to rural Guatemala with a group of more than 20 doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and translators. For four days, the group worked in an elementary school that was temporarily converted into our clinic and pharmacy. Each day of the mission, members from different surrounding villages were encouraged to visit the clinic.

The area of Guatemala where we visited and worked in is severely under served, medical  and dental care are very hard to come by. Most people live in very modest homes, many without electricity or running water. Almost all of the local population live in homes that don’t have stoves, so everyone cooks on open fire pits that use wood as a heat source. Due to this practice, the entire area constantly smells of burning wood causing air quality to be very poor.

Here is a little more about the people who made our 2013 mission possible.

The dental team:

John Pfail, DDS

Joseph Pantaleo, DDS

Nicole Skalina,DDS

Monica Song, DDS

Moira Groh, DDS

Matt Weil, DDS

During the 4 days working in the village, the dental team made a huge impact on the community and helped an astounding number of people. They saw a total of 643 patients. They performed 488 tooth extractions, they did 62 restorations, and provided 110 fluoride treatments. The communities that surround the area we worked in have NO access to dentists so our team was able to bring drastic relief to many people. 

The Medical Team:




Alan Briones, MD

Stephanie Sterling, MD MPH

B. Raul Quijano Rondan, MD

Monica Speicher, MD

Robert Allison, MD

Nancy Elliot, PA

The medical team divided the population by age and one group treated adults while another group focused on the kids that came to see us.

The pediatric team

Members of the Guatemalan Ministry of Health were on hand to help with records and to track patients who were seen at our clinic. The medical team saw a total of 682 patients during the mission; 409 adult patients and 273 children. Among adults, many complained of pain and soreness, perhaps because of the manual labor most of the population are forced to perform in order to support their families. Among the pediatric patients, many patients were treated for gastritis, for skin ailments and for upper respiratory infections .

The Pharmacy Team:






Nina Yousefzadeh, PharmD
Elsie Wong, PharmD
Suzanna Gim, PharmD
Pharmacy students:
–Om Bhatt
–Sebastian Musa
–Eleni Catsimalis
The pharmacy team filled 1353 prescriptions during the mission. They filled 797 prescriptions for adult patients and 556 for the pediatric patients. The Global PenicillinGirl Project brought all of the medicine with them from the US. They were responsible for educating the patients and making sure that each was given a briefing on how to take the prescription or to give it to their kids.


Many patients in the pharmacy were provided with vitamins to help improve their health.

Global PenicillinGirl Project works with Vivamos Mejor a Guatemalan non-profit organization dedicated to helping improve the quality of life of people living in various rural communities. For more information on Vivamos Mejor, visit vivamosmejor.org.gt
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5k Run/Walk for the Global Penicillingirl Project – 2013

Title: Spring 2013 Run/Walk
Description: Details coming shortly.
Date: Spring 2013

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