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University of Iowa News Release


April 3, 2008

PHOTO: UI College of Pharmacy faculty member Christine Catney examines a young boy as part of a recent health project for children in Xicotepec, Mexico.

UI pharmacy students and faculty travel to Mexico for health project

Two students and two faculty members from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy took part in a recent health project for children in Xicotepec, Mexico.

From March 9 to March 14, pharmacy students Jessica Eveleth and Rebecca Lamis, along with faculty members Hazel Seaba, assistant dean for curriculum, and Christine Catney, clinical assistant professor, visited numerous preschools and primary schools in Xicotepec and provided 3,128 children with the deworming medication albendazole.

The trip was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Iowa. This is the sixth year the Rotary Club of Iowa has supported Xicotepec projects and the third year UI students and faculty have participated in the effort. In 2007, 2,000 children were successfully treated.

"The students' Xicotepec experience is an international service-learning course that is built on a partnership of mutual benefit between the College of Pharmacy, Rotary and the Xicotepec community," Seaba said. "Through the course, students participate in a valuable community public health initiative and acquire skills that support their future professional practice, particularly with underserved populations."

Children in Xicotepec and other parts of Mexico are vulnerable to intestinal worm infections, often due to poor drinking water and sanitation conditions. If untreated, these infections can cause malnutrition and delayed mental growth.

As part of the treatment, the team recorded the height and weight of each child and dispensed a full tablet, quartered tablet or crushed tablet of albendazole mixed with yogurt, depending on each child's ability to chew the medication.

Forty-seven faculty members, students and community members from Iowa, Pennsylvania and North Carolina were involved in the project. The team was aided by nursing students from Xicotepec and students and faculty from the Benemerita Universidad de Pueble (BUAP) pharmacy school in Puebla, Mexico.

"Not only did this experience aid the children of Xicotepec, but it also helped us to form a strong relationship with the faculty and students of BUAP," Lamis and Eveleth wrote in a summary report. "This relationship will hopefully result in joint health care missions in Xicotepec that are not only sustainable but also unending with possibilities."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Writer: Stacie Carpenter