Student Directed Seminars

Increasing Access to Essential Medicines in Developing Countries

A student-directed seminar titled, “Increasing Access to Essential Medicines in Developing Countries: Strategies and Barriers” was offered from January-April 2010. This seminar critically examined the role of universities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and pharmaceutical companies in an effort to ensure worldwide access to essential medicines. Upon completion of the course, students gained knowledge of patent laws and relevant trade agreements, the effects of these on access to medicines in impoverished countries, aid measures already taken to improve access to drugs and other medical technologies, and challenges that remain at this time.

The seminar was coordinated by Sonja Babovic, a 4th year Pharmaceutical Science student, and was supervised by Dr. Kishor Wasan.   Sonja has expressed a desire that the course information continue to be made available to students or anyone interested in the topic of Essential Medicines.

The course information is available here:  Increasing Access to Essential Medicines in Developing Countries

Biology 448B: The Fundamentals of Tropical Disease

Offered January – April 2008 at the University of British Columbia

15 students were enrolled for the course.

This three-credit undergraduate student-directed seminar was created by Goldis Chami and Dr. Patricia Schulte. The course took a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the diseases most common to the tropics, and the factors that maintain those diseases and contribute to their spread. The aim of the seminar was to provide students with a strong grounding in the etiology, pathogenic mechanisms, and course of illness of the diseases studied, while also exploring the social, economic, historic, and political factors that explain why these diseases continue to devastate millions of individuals in low- and middle-income countries.

Diseases studied included cholera and diarrheal diseases, malaria, trypanosomiasis, Dengue and yellow fever, tuberculosis and drug resistance, HIV, and leprosy. Issues discussed included the challenges of developing effective diagnostic tools for developing countries, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, the pharmaceutical industry and the complexities of stimulating drug development for neglected diseases, and the effects of climate change on the spread of tropical diseases.

Course website (includes readings and course materials):