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Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy

East Tennessee State University

Global and Rural Engagement

Global and Rural Engagement efforts are some of the ways that we achieve our College’s mission.

Global Health …

Is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide

  • Emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions
  • Involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences
  • Promotes interdisciplinary collaboration
  • A synthesis of population- based prevention with individual-level clinical care

Common challenges encountered in global health include limited access to quality medicines, limited access to health care, poorly staffed health facilities, poor infrastructure, lack of sustainability, and cost.  [Kaplan et al. Lancet. 2009; 373:1993–95.]

Dirt Road 


Rural Health …


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Rural is defined in many different ways by government entities and by personal perspectives.  The Rural Health Information Hub shows rurality of a specific location based on various definitions.  When providing care for rural and underserved areas in the United States, it is important to consider Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations as well.  In a 2017 report, the Appalachian Regional Commission noted that 42% of the Appalachian Region’s population is rural, compared to 20% of the nation’s population and that the gap in overall health between Appalachia and the nation as a whole is widening. 

In a 2017 Surveillance Summary, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in rural areas, barriers to health care access result in unmet health care needs including a lack of preventive and screening services, lack of treatment of illnesses and lack of timely urgent and emergency services.  Age-adjusted rates for the five leading causes of death in the United States (heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, cancer, and unintentional injury, including opioid overdose) are higher in rural areas which often have a higher uninsured rate, health care workforce shortages, limited transportation options, and/or lack subspecialty care or critical care units. 

The Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHAT) focuses on the following areas of concern:  rural access to healthcare, substance abuse, special populations, mental/behavioral health, education for health care professionals, health promotion/disease prevention, oral health, and rural emergency preparedness. 


Global health challenges and rural health concerns can be impacted by students, pharmacists, and interprofessional teams working within communities.


Our College and University are working to make a difference!


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The Gatton College of Pharmacy offers global and rural experiences in didactic, experiential, research, and service settings.  As we further develop Global and Rural Engagement activities, we utilize these guiding values:

Patient-centered Care Chart


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Didactic electives

  • Ambulatory Care in Appalachia
  • Global Healthcare: Disease Treatment & Prevention (interprofessional, online asynchronous)
  • Global Healthcare: Perspectives & Practice (interprofessional)
  • Substance Abuse in Rural Appalachia (interprofessional)


  • We offer many IPPE/APPE sites that are designated as rural or underserved
  • Students volunteer at a variety of Remove Area Medical events in our region each year and engage in a variety of other rural/underserved experiences during their IPPEs
  • Students have the opportunity for global health APPEs through partnership with Global Health Outreach for a short-term medical mission or a faculty-precepted month in Uganda for a Global Health Initiatives experience with a partnering University and Hospital there.
  • Students have the opportunity to select from a variety of rural-focused APPEs including experiences at the Health Wagon, the Rural Health Services Consortium, Inc., the Appalachian Preceptorship, and others.


  • Students have opportunities to complete mentored research in rural and global health with a variety of mentors. 


  • Students provide naloxone rescue training throughout northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.
  • Students assist with Take-Back Day events where people drop off prescription drugs at collection points to get them out of circulation; removing large quantities of medications from homes and communities.
  • Additional student service includes fundraising walks for some of the disease states that impact our Community, serving meals to the hungry, providing drug awareness education to primary school students, providing medication safety and use education for Senior Citizens, community health screenings, flu shot administration, and many other activities that serve to impact disparities in our region. 


Ecuador Group Steps

Global and Rural Engagement blog


Please contact Dr. Emily Flores with any questions about Global and Rural Engagement.

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