Duluth-Korea connection: Translation project helps pharmacy studentsA textbook designed to modernize the science of pharmacy in South Korea traveled there by way of Duluth.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
A textbook designed to modernize the science of pharmacy in South Korea traveled there by way of Duluth.
“Pharmaceutical Care Practice: The Clinician’s Guide,” written by three professors at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, “is the bible of the pharmaceutical care concept,” said Soyang Ha, a native of Seoul, South Korea, who is an infomatics pharmacist at St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth.
The text, written by Robert Cipolle, Linda Strand and Peter Morley, was published in the first of its three editions in 2004, Strand said in a phone interview. Ha was a researcher for a Korean pharmaceutical company in 2009 when he came across the second edition of the book and devoured it.
“This is one book that actually motivated me to decide to study here,” said Ha, who moved to Minnesota 4½ years ago and recently completed his doctorate at the College of Pharmacy’s Duluth campus.
Sunghee Park, also a native of South Korea, was a pharmacist in her home country when she was drawn to the United States with a similar motivation in 2000. She moved with her husband and three children because “I wanted to learn more of advanced pharmaceuticals.”
Park wound up at the University of North Dakota and in the summer of 2002 interned at St. Luke’s in Duluth.
“We had a great time,” she said about that summer. “The people were very nice, and they were so interested in me.”
After graduating, Park took a position in St. Cloud, Minn., but she returned to Duluth as soon as St. Luke’s had an opening. She has been a clinical pharmacist there since 2005.
Though happy in the U.S., Park wanted to help pharmacists in her homeland. She began by writing her own text, published in South Korea in 2011, to explain how pharmacy is done in the United States.
In South Korea, she said, pharmacists still focus on dispensing medicines. In the U.S., pharmacists are more actively involved in treating patients.
But her book was limited to what she had learned in North Dakota and Minnesota, she said. For the bigger picture, she wanted Koreans to have access to Cipolle, Strand and Morley’s text.
Korean students read many of their texts in English, Ha said. But because it’s not their birth language, the process is difficult. “Even though the textbooks are in English, we struggle,” he said. “Korean students can read it, but it’s going to be really slow.”
Park saw her opportunity last year, when several Korean students were attending the pharmacy school’s Duluth campus. She and her husband would have them over for meals and conversation, and she gradually steered the talk in a more academic direction.
“The students are very busy,” she said. “I don’t want to waste their time.”
Eventually, Ha and two other students joined in the translation project, which began in May 2012. Three professors and a student in South Korea were added to the team.
The translators consulted by email and on a common website, Park said. They wanted to make sure they used common terminology so their readers wouldn’t be confused. Team members would translate chapters, and Park took care of revisions and the overall project.
The Minnesota professors, who retired from the university to form a company that puts their concepts into practice, were pleased by the project, Strand said.
“It’s an incredible compliment,” she said. “First of all, they’re our peers, so they know what works and what doesn’t.”
The book was published in South Korea in August and is being used already in at least three pharmacy programs, Park said.
That includes Seoul National University, the most prestigious in the country, Ha said.
Park said she sees it as an obligation to convey what she’s learned in Minnesota and North Dakota to students and pharmacists in her homeland.
“We are blessed because we had a chance to be here and study here and learn,” she said. “We need to take on the responsibility to share with Koreans.”