Iliana Parrillas ’19 (Henderson, Kentucky) has had a unique opportunity to return to her home country for an internship at the San Pablo Clinic and Laboratory in Apopa, a small town in the department of San Salvador, El Salvador.
“I knew I wanted to go home and visit my family, but I also wanted to make it an educational and meaningful experience as well,” Parrillas said. “Since I was raised in the U.S., I truly had little exposure to the medical field of my own home country, so I was eager to learn more.
“I had connections to a few doctors, but I chose San Pablo Clinic and Laboratory because it was private, and I wanted a more intimate setting to interact with patients rather than a hospital,” she continued.
During her internship, she’s observing how doctors prescribe treatments and provide healthcare for patients and also interacting with patients directly by learning the administration and management of the clinic laboratory.
Parrillas said that, through this experience, she is able to learn more about global and international healthcare and compare her experience to the U.S.
Prior to this internship, Parrillas worked at CVS Pharmacy, as well as shadowed pharmacists at Deaconess Women’s Hospital, where she gained exposure to the U.S. healthcare system and developed skills to interact with patients and healthcare professionals.
“This experience means a lot to me because it is personal,” she said. “I didn’t just choose an arbitrary third-world country to do an international internship. I chose home.
“I am learning about the ups and downs of healthcare that my own family members receive and informing myself on how factors such as the economy, culture and the environment affect these issues,” she continued.
By the end of the internship, Parrillas hopes to have established a better understanding of Spanish medical terminology, which is a skill she will eventually use as a multilingual pharmacist. She said she also hopes to gain a better understanding of differences and similarities among healthcare systems in the U.S. versus El Salvador.
After Centre, Parrillas plans to attend pharmacy school and go into a dual degree program to obtain her Pharm.D. and a Ph.D. in public or global health.
by Kerry Steinhofer
July 5, 2018