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Semester 2011-1

Advanced Conversation Group MAGAZINE The University of Antiquia: Hand in Hand with the Community

University of Antiquia School of Languages English Program for Teachers


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Editor´s Note By: Nicolás Ramírez Vásquez

Drug Addiction Risk Factors In The University Of Antioquia´s Community By: Isabel Cristina Posada Zapata

Park of Life: Welfare Space for the City

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By: Martha Lucia Escobar Astrid Viviana Vargas

Dr. Franco: A Colombian Scientist to Follow! By Yadira Coll Jiménez Andrés Augusto Arias

Pets in Our Homes

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By Nicolás Ramírez Vásquez

The University of Antioquia´s Social Responsibility By: Omar Cantillo

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An opportunity for blind people at The University of Antioquia By Ana Beatriz Gómez

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Contraceptive Supply Medicines To Prevent Unwanted Teen Pregnancies By Dora A. Hernández S.


Editor´s Note

Universities around the world are working in some cases by themselves and in others together with private enterprises to solve real problems for the society, This must be the mission of those superior educational centers, especially in the developing countries. The University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, has the compromise to be the best university in the country concerning research and also one of the best in academic results. This university also is in charge of helping people to solve their day to day problems. One way to do it is trough its Extension Programs that offered by several faculties. In this issue the magazine presents some services and research projects The University of Antioquia has for the community. This is one of the ways The Alma Mater takes part in the society.

By: Nicolás Ramírez Vásquez

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Drug Addiction Risk Factors In The University Of Antioquia´s Community By: Isabel Cristina Posada Zapata

The Organization of American States (OAS) has a lot of programs associated with Latin American universities. One of the agencies that works for OAS is CICAD (Comisión Interamericana para el Control del Abuso de Drogas). This agency has as a purpose the empowerment of the academic and the professional force in Latin America to build teams that can generate social policies on the issue of drugs, based on research and community work. The goal of this program is to include the issue of drugs from a perspective of international health. In the specific case of the University of Antioquia, this program has operated since 2007, with research projects, teachers´ training in the prevention of drug abuse, and communication strategies like web pages and congresses on specific topics. Since last year, a team of psychologists (Eneida Puerta, Paola Oquendo y Eliana Alzate), have been developed a research which goal is to know the risk factors and the perception concerning drug addiction in students at the University of Antioquia.

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The main findings are that ordinary people believe the university is a stage of freedom, and this idea makes sexual behavior and drug use common in young people when they start their university life. This situation linked to family problems and other economical and social risk factors increase the possibility of drugs abuse. According to the findings, it is necessary to continue working on prevention programs with young people from the school, and to consider the problem of drug abuse like a social problem, not like an exclusive problem in the university. So, it is vital to work with young people in programs of health promotion: sports, work opportunities and a fair access to education. The main legal problem inside the Campus is the selling of drugs; the use of drugs is a public health problem. These programs are a wonderful opportunity for helping the community based on the academic force inside the university. The University of Antioquia like a public institution should take care of the community´s interests, in this case, the problems derived from the drug abuse. Based on the findings, the university can help the society, especially young people. Researches and teachers cannot forget that the university's mission is to educate integral citizens ; and, according to this idea it is very important to generate programs based on the research findings.

(In the photo: Paola Oquendo, Isabel Posada, Eneida Puerta and Eliana Alzate)

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Park of Life: Welfare Space for the City By: Martha Lucia Escobar Astrid Viviana Vargas The University of Antioquia has as its mission researching and teaching as the basic exes of the academic life, and both contribute to the social transformation. A third axe, the Extension Area, has also a great commitment with the society. The Extension branch works with several social groups and institutions. One of these alliances is with Medellin´s Mayor Office and the University of Antioquia. They have worked together in the project of Park of life. The goals of the park´s project are: getting different ways to complement health services in a site where the community will meet to recognize health as welfare for a broad social development (not only the absence of disease) and to give Medellín´s inhabitants a space for health out of hospitals. The University of Antioquia has as its mission researching and teaching as the basic exes of the academic life, and both contribute to the social transformation. A third axe, the Extension Area, has also a great commitment with the society. The Extension branch works with several social groups and institutions. One of these alliances is with Medellin´s Mayor Office and the University of Antioquia. They have worked together in the project of Park of life. The goals of the park´s project are: getting different ways to complement health services in a site where the community will meet to recognize health as welfare for a broad social development (not only the absence of disease) and to give Medellín´s inhabitants a space for health out of hospitals. This project will be located in the North-eastern side of the city and it will be part of Medellin's transformation where people can find culture, recreation, science and health. It will have 7063.62 squared meters and will be near the San Vicente de Paul hospital, the Medicine Faculty and the Hospital Metro Station. There, people will take part in many activities, enjoy with their family and learn different aspects for a better way to life and for taking care of their own health. The “Park of Life” is a pilot project to make health promotion a reality, and having the city as a referent for health promotion in Colombia and in Latin America, enhancing education and the improvement of citizen participation.

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The “Park of Life” will have different services like: educational strategies, human development and a better life´s style, recreational artistic events and sport activities as well as information, communication and education on rights and duties concerning health and consulting and researching. All these services addressed to health promotion. The “Park of Life” will bring some benefits as: - It will lead programs, plans and research projects in health promotion, human development and life style´s improvement. - It will promote the participation of people and institutions in health discussion, including neighborhoods, communities and regions. - It will Join the community will promote health public policies with the idea of transforming people into responsible beings of a society. The proposal of the “Park of Life” is having the community together for teamwork setting mutual learning and establishing new social relations. In this way, one can implement public policies, knowledge production, programs and projects on health promotion in Medellin, and the development of capacities on the population and the recovery of public spaces to build citizenship.

Model of the “Park of Life”

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Dr. Franco: A Colombian Scientist to Follow! By Yadira Coll Jiménez Andrés Augusto Arias Dr. Jose Luis Franco is a physician and a researcher at the Primary Immunodeficiencies Group (IDP) at Universidad de Antioquia. During the most important years of his life, he has studied diseases called Primary Inmunodeficiencies. The causes of these are genetic alterations that affect the immune system and they require an early diagnosis because the affected patients can present life-threatening severe infections. Recently, Dr Franco was awarded with the “El Colombiano Ejemplar” prize in the Science and Technology Category. This prize was given by “El Colombiano” newspaper. The purpose of this award is to highlight people who make an invaluable community service with their work. Dr. Franco graduated as a physician from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Medellín campus). He studied his master degree and PhD at Universidad de Antioquia. He also did an additional postdoctoral training at The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and The National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States of America. Dr. Franco´s goal has been to improve the diagnosis and the treatment of Colombian patients suffering from these diseases. He also works with “Diana Garcia de Olarte´s” Foundation which main objective is to promote a high quality of life for these patients. Because of the importance of this recognition and its meaning in Colombia, we decided to ask him some questions about his work: Yadira and Andrés: Why did you choose to work in this area of medicine? Dr. Franco: “It was mostly by chance I have to say. I came back from my posdoctoral training at the NCI in Maryland and I decided to take a break from science and medicine. One day I decided to visit my friend and professor Diana García at the School of Medicine and I learned that she was looking forward to her retirement and she wanted me to work in her lab. At first I had some doubts about it but I learned about these diseases and decided that I might have a chance to make a difference in this field and decided to start working with her”.

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Yadira and Andrés: What has been the happiest moment in your medical career? Dr. Franco: “Well, I have had many and I feel very fortunate about it. Certainly when I learn that I made a difference in the life of a patient that brings me lots of joy. However, I think that one moment I will never forget is the day of the inaguration of the Foundation when everybody was standing there watching this long-waited dream to finally come true”. Yadira and Andrés: What are your plans for the future in this field? Dr. Franco: “I want that our work gets to every corner of our country and that we can help every single patient with Primary Immunodeficiency to get diagnosed correctly and to receive the best treatment”.

Pets in Our Homes By Nicolás Ramírez Vásquez Nowadays, pets like dogs and cats are very important members of the family , they provide company, and in some cases, dogs help their owners in several ways, for example: they guide people who cannot see or help disabled people moving around the city. Pets (dogs and cats) also serve in cases of people with a mental disability to improve their quality of life giving them company. With some training, dogs can also know and alert their owners when they are going to have a heart arrest or epilepsy attacks. PETS´ CARE (DOGS AND CATS) Pets need a very good care and love, a very healthy nutrition and an adequate house or at least a comfortable bed. They also need a place where they can make their physiological needs, a drinking and food container and a place to play or exercise.

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PETS CAN GET SICK Pets (dogs and cats) can suffer from several diseases. For instance, dogs commonly suffer diseases related to their breed. Boxers frequently have skin tumors, Dalmatians may suffer kidney calculus and skin tumors, German Sheperds regularly have hip dysplasia, Chinese Sharpies can suffer from skin diseases and entropion, a disease in which the eyelid is inverted against the cornea, Great Danes can suffer from diaphragmatic hernias and Schnauzers may suffer of furunculosis. Cats may get demodex disease, a problem due to an external parasite that attacks their skin and produce a lot of itching. Where can we get very good health services and pieces of advice for dogs and cats? Our recommendation is looking for information about your pets with your veterinarian and avoid a disease to become fatal . Nowadays, veterinarians are very high qualified and clinics in the city are very good equipped. We strongly recommend The Veterinary Hospital at The University of Antioquia in Medellin because they have a very prepared staff and facilities for your pets´ health.

The Veterinary Hospital, a branch of The School of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Antioquia, provides veterinary medical service and dental care, surgery, imaging diagnostic aids, clinical laboratory and hospital. It has highly trained professionals and excellent quality, which has become the focal point for the Metropolitan Area.

The hospital is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Address: Carrera 75 # 65-87 Ciudadela Universitaria de Robledo. For service information please call 219-9115 or 219-9119 or via email at hospitalveterinarioudea@gmail.com.

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The University of Antioquia´s Social Responsibility By: Omar Cantillo “Patients seeking medical advice” is old premise in our society. But for some diseases this does not apply because sick people ignore their condition or they don´t have enough money for paying a specialized medical service, which usually is located in big cities. This is the problem one group of pathologies called “neglected diseases”, among these there are tropical diseases as the American Trypanosomiasi, also called Chagas disease (CD). CD is a parasitic disease transmitted by bugs. It only appears in America from the South of the U.S.A. to the Patagonia and It causes physical disability or death. One of the principal reasons for people to be infected by Chagas is the socio-economical problems since bugs live in the poorest people´s houses. When country-people build a house with organic material offered by nature, they provide all conditions for insects to in their houses.

Many regions of Colombia have this situation, and these are the most neglected areas by the government. This is the case of the indigenous population inhabiting the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta(SNS). Four indigenous communities live there: Wiwas, Kogis, Aruacos and Cancuamos. Wiwas and kogis are the largest and the most affected by CD. In a time of social responsibility, The University of Antioquia helps indigenous communities with issues related to CD with different ntervention projects, seeking to minimize this problem for wiwas and kogis. The odyssey begins Going to SNS is an odysey because this place is located 700 Kilometres from Medellín. To arrive there, you must travel by bus during 16 hours until you arrive to San Juan del Cesar, La Guajira. Then, you continue your trip by a local car to the first town called Marocazo, inside the Indian territory. From there, the research team must travels by horse for five more hours. for 5 hours more and finally they arrive to Siminke one of the sacred cities to the wiwa´s people.

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In Siminke, the research team lives with the indigenous community and sleeps inside a Kancura, that is a big traditional house where the men and women meet for their ceremonies. The wiwas community has Koncuras for men and others for women. The social responsibility task is an integrated work for improving the conditions of indigenous communities. First, a diagnostic test for CD is made, after, the research team runs studies to determinate the factors involved with CD transmission, and finally, the team designs a program to prevent CD based on their traditional culture and health promotion. This is a way, among others in which the University of Antioquia participates to improve the condition of people having health problems.

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An opportunity for blind people at The University of Antioquia By Ana Beatriz Gómez The number of blind people at The university of Antioquia has decreased since 2008. No one with this disability has been able to pass the entrance exam. This situation shows that there is a problem for blind people with the training techniques when taking the exam. There is little preparation at Elementary and High School for blind people, our educational systems don't have policies that allow these people to compete for a place at The university of Antioquia. There are inadequate processes for them in High School because teachers try to teach blind and sighted students at the same time and in the same way; teachers need to develop their class program and they don't have enough time for all students.

Another problem is that there isn't an adequate approach to the entrance exam. Since the test was released, everybody has access to take the question sheet home and to study it. However, blind people cannot do this because their test doesn't have this sheet, making harder the competition to get in. Although, there is an “Inclusion Committee” at the university working on the reduction of social exclusion, its main concern is to work with the university´s students, not with the special population who couldn't pass the exam.

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Because of this, now there is a good initiative which was born from two visually impaired university students who presented a project to The Journalism Faculty's Research Area and to The Extension Center of Vicerrectoría de Extensión. This project was about training blind people who had already taken The university of Antioquia´s admission exam and didn't pass it for their poor performance. Sixteen blind people took part in this training project. They studied the main topics of the exam for about two months (28 sessions), and they took the exam last May 9th. As the exam´s results were released, five students could pass the exam showing the benefits of this project.

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Contraceptive Supply Medicines To Prevent Unwanted Teen Pregnancies By Dora A. Hernรกndez S. Teenage pregnancy carries high social and economical costs for the health system that is why The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, at the University of Antioquia, wants to train professionals with enough knowledge to guide teenagers for the right use of contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies. These children are more likely to be born before term or to have low birth weights. Teenage mothers are also less likely to complete their education compared to moms over twenty years of age. Teenage pregnancies are linked to several risk factors as poverty, child abuse, and unsafe behaviors such as drug abuse. For the above reasons, it is necessary to have a follow-up on teenagers who visit drug stores and to begin a new supervision to maintain up-today results, because a new cohort of teenagers appears every year,

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The increased use of contraceptives among teens could explain the decrease of teenage pregnancy, however, four out of ten girls become pregnant by the age of fifteen years in Medellin. Eighty percent of these pregnancies are unintended. As a professional in the health area, I do not try to eradicate unwanted pregnancies or to encourage women of the city to take pills, but at least, I want to accomplish the goal of giving the right information about a drug when teens approach a pharmaceutical establishment as well as solving their doubts and giving them the knowledge about the contraceptive drugs they are taking. I hope my project lessens the high rate of unwanted pregnancies in the city. A pharmaceutical chemist must be aware of the social impact his/her work can have doing the adequate practice of the profession. The patient not only finds in the pharmacist a person who sells medicines but a person with knowledge and ethics who can provide a piece of advice.

The general strategy to reduce teenage pregnancy includes information on contraception and an increase of contraceptive helps.

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