Public Health Fulbright, Hungary–Ohio: Dystopian Barriers

From September 2019 – June 2020, a Public Health-Pharmacy Fulbright student grant was fulfilled to establish professional and personal relationships between Ohio and Hungary due to common healthcare goals and a shared barriers to healthcare access: geographic landscapes and distance. Partnerships were made between the Fulbrighter and pharmacy students of Semmelweis University, Hungarian healthcare professionals, and community leaders. The objective was to gather insight to the lived experiences, needs, and healthcare priorities of the students, professionals, and rural Hungarian communities so as to create educational and interactive outreach programs. The research, creation, and implementation of these programs would be completed by the U.S. Fulbright student, Semmelweis pharmacy students, and the healthcare professionals in collaboration with community leaders. Outreach programs under the topics of Mental Health and Best Practices for Taking Medicines were created. However, over the course of several months, other themes emerged: culture, history, and socioeconomic barriers to healthcare disparities. While geography and distance continue to be barriers to healthcare access, the history and policy which influence the lived experiences and social needs of a population need to be first acknowledged and addressed. Focusing on the legislation and history affecting a population are essential to relieving healthcare disparities, both in Hungary and Ohio.