Interview prepared by Faiz Kermani (faculty #104000)
Jeannine gives us some insights into how she first started volunteering for PEOI and some of the exciting projects she is currently involved with—as well as her future plans to help improve the accessibility to quality education worldwide.
1. Can you tell us a little about your professional background?
Jeannine: I am a licensed CA (California) pharmacist with a doctorate in pharmacy (Pharm D degree) from UCSF and 14 years of pharmacy experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have a decade of experience working as a clinical pharmacist in a long term acute-care hospital for posttraumatic brain injuries, where I collaborated with the healthcare team, provided recommendations for optimal patient-specific treatment, provided pharmacokinetic dosing and monitoring, and developed and taught continuing education programs for the nursing department. I was also active with the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, where I collaborated on formulary decisions and developed hospital-wide protocols for anticoagulation and cephalosporin dosing for renal impairment. In addition, I have 8 years of experience working in psychiatric pharmacy, and 4 years of experience in general hospital and community pharmacy. Currently, I serve on the Communications and Health Promotions Committee of the National Birth Defect Prevention Network, and on the Research Committee and Education Committee for OTIS (Organization of Teratology Information Specialists).
2. How did you learn about PEOI, and what motivated you to get involved?
Jeannine: I learned about PEOI through an advertisement with United Nations Online Volunteers (but I do believe that this was connected with VolunteerMatch). I believe in the power of education—it is fundamental to growth and development. I believe, with passion, that to unleash the potential of the human mind, through education, is a human right. When I realized that I could develop a course with PEOI that could be used by students in under-resourced countries, I was ready to volunteer! I figured that a pharmacology course could spark an interest in a student to explore medical and pharmacy fields. It could also be used to prepare a student for medical or pharmacy school, and ultimately contribute to global health education.
3. What do you think is the most important work that PEOI does?
Jeannine: PEOI connects the world, globally, to learn from each other. To say that I am impressed, is an understatement—with its nearly 11,000 volunteers from 159 different countries contributing course development across 55 different professional fields, impacting over 2 million students from 187 countries! The knowledge within these connections is profound, but the inspiration that this has created is what I view as the most important work that PEOI has done.
4. What projects are you involved with, and can you tell us a bit more about them?
Jeannine: I am volunteering as a Team Leader on PH400EN (Basic Pharmacology and Therapeutics). This course provides an introduction to pharmacology, including the basic features of drugs, pharmacodynamics (effects of drugs on the body), pharmacokinetics (effects of the body on drugs), pharmacogenomics (genetic variations that impact drug effects and metabolism), autonomic pharmacology, and basic and clinical cardiovascular pharmacology. This course is the first in a 3 course series. This course can be used to build foundational knowledge in pharmacology, explore interests in the field, and/or serve as preparation for pharmacy or medical school. Prerequisites to this course include a college level chemistry course and human physiology. Prior courses in organic chemistry and biochemistry are recommended.
5. What other PEOI initiatives are you involved in?
Jeannine: I am also excited about designing internships and recruiting interns. My goal is to provide clearly defined projects with outlines (and timelines for completion) for interns working on Pharmacology 400EN. The projects should have enough structure to safeguard completion of the project goals; but also have enough flexibility to foster unique intern growth/success and allow project development to reach its finest. Interns will participate in team meetings and have opportunities for team collaboration. I anticipate that the internships will not only benefit interns and PEOI, but will also be a lot of fun! Ultimately, I would like to advise interns from a variety of educational levels (undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students), but initially, I will most likely recruit from Pharm D (doctor of pharmacy) programs. I am also researching potential donors from philanthropic foundations, and preparing a list of potential foundations that share a common interest with PEOI, and therefore might be interested in donating to PEOI.
6. What do you think students can gain from PEOI?
Jeannine: Students, anywhere on the globe, across all socioeconomic spectrum, and from the broadest of ages, can gain valuable knowledge from coursework in multiple languages in over 55 fields! A student may choose to spend 30 minutes reading a particular course section to answer a particular question or spark a new interest.
Other students may choose to sign up and take an entire course, for either personal interest, professional development, academic advancement, or potential college course credits (if approved as transferable by their own college). Other students may take a PEOI course to explore career changes or gain enrichment from breadth courses outside their career field. Since PEOI can be used independently from their own college, many students might feel less intimidated to introduce themselves to a new subject on PEOI. Finally, students can connect and learn from talented educators all over the world.
7. Why do you think that other professionals should volunteer with PEOI? How can they help
and what can they gain from the experience?
Jeannine: Volunteering with PEOI provides an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with others. Knowing that your contributions might help unlock learning, spark an interest, or help someone advance, is very rewarding. Knowing that your contributions could also be freeing some from global oppression and helping the movement towards educational equity, is exciting, since it is education that can put an end to poverty and hunger, and ultimately lead to good health and the ability to contribute to society.
Volunteers also learn while they contribute! Volunteers can gain practical experience in many areas, including (but not limited to) course development, writing, virtual illustrating, translating, teaching, HTML language, internet research, research citing, and web design. Volunteering with PEOI also provides opportunities to collaborate with dynamic, talented professionals across many fields and from around the world.
8. Where can people find out more about PEOI and your course?
Jeannine: To find out more about PEOI, visit the website at www.peoi.org. To find out more about volunteering on the course development of Pharmacology 400EN (Basic Pharmacology and Therapeutics), visit www.PEOI.net, and go to “creating courses.” Then go to “volunteers,” and then “volunteers needed,” and click on “Basic Pharmacology and Therapeutics.”
9. Is there any other information you would like to share about your volunteering
Jeannine: Planning and developing a course in pharmacology has pushed me to think deeper and broader—and ask questions all over again. I am proud to work with a team of such bright minds from around the world on a mission to unlock education for all. I am excited about the future of PEOI!
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”—Helen Keller
10. Are you involved in any other types of volunteering activities outside PEOI?
Jeannine: To help fight our battle against COVID-19, I am a member of the Marin County Surge Unit, and I am an active member of the HR-Exposure/Diagnosis Front-Line Team with the American Red Cross National Headquarters (Washington DC). I also volunteer with A Red Circle…Because All blood is Red, helping vulnerable citizens of St Louis Missouri connect with essential resources. A Red Circle seeks to improve “economic development through a racial equality lens.”
For the past two years, I have volunteered with Reading Partners, a national nonprofit that, like me, “believes in the power of educational equity to interrupt systemic racism, poverty, and social inequality.” I provide 1:1 tutoring in reading for underprivileged elementary students in under-resourced public schools. I also have recent (2017-2018) experience volunteering with the Oakland Public Education Fund, tutoring underprivileged children at a public elementary school in East Oakland, one of the nation’s most poverty and crime-stricken neighborhoods. I am passionate in my mission for educational equity, and I love to welcome children to the joy of literacy and inspire them to become lifelong learners!
Please bring your skills to help millions of disadvantaged students all over the world, who do not have access to traditional education because of where they live, time constraints or insufficient income. Thank you for your interest.
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