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The Global Health Burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases

MedPACt’s Global Health Conference is an annual medical student run conference geared towards health professionals like medical students, nursing students, pharmacy students, and anyone who is interested in the topic of global health.  Topics of previous years have included Maternal and Child health, Refugee health, and Disaster relief.  We had approximately 200 attendees join us for the conference that took place on January 16, 2016.

The conference included a keynote speaker, panel discussion, and a variety of workshops and simulations for the participants.  Our keynote speaker was Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, the director of product development from the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor School of Medicine. We have chosen to partner with the END7 organization to help eradicate the 7 most common NTDs.  We pledged to donate $5 from every registrant’s fee to the END7 organization in addition to fundraising efforts.

Keynote Speaker:

Our keynote speaker was Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Ph.D., the associate dean of the Baylor National School of Tropical Medicine, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and director of the vaccine product development laboratories of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.  Dr. Bottazzi leads an outstanding career as a basic scientist and clinical researcher in advancing knowledge and understanding for new tools for fighting NTDs.  A major force behind the establishment of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, Dr. Bottazzi leads a comprehensive research and development program for a new generation of drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines for NTDs.  Dr. Bottazzi’s efforts have led to the successful advancement of a human hookworm and schistosomiasis vaccine to a Phase 1 clinical trial.  Her research team is also developing vaccines to leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and other soil-transmitted helminths.  Ultimately, Dr. Bottazzi envisions translating these clinical findings in NTDs into sustainable, long-term, commercialized solutions for the treatment of infectious disease for those who need it most.  A true global health leader, Dr. Bottazzi also works tirelessly to bring awareness of NTDs in the developed world in an effort to bring further awareness to the global health burden


The afternoon included interactive and engaging workshops and simulations where participants got the chance to learn about different tropical diseases and apply their learning hands-on.  These workshops and simulations included the following activities:

·       narrative patient interview conducted in Spanish

·       interactive simulation involving Harvey the Cardiopulmonary Patient Simulator

·       demonstration on how to diagnose select tropical diseases on standardized     patients exhibiting the dermatological conditions of these diseases

·       demonstration on how to treat a patient on your feet held in our simulation lab

Conference flyer

Contact Information:

Got questions? Feel free to contact our conference board: