UW News

November 1, 2007

Amazon rainforest is site for continuing education program

A lodge in the Amazon rainforest will be the unusual location for a continuing education program next March sponsored by the UW Schools of Pharmacy, Medicine and Nursing.

Called “Pharmacy from the Rainforest: Global Perspectives in Healthcare,” the course will be held at Explorama Lodge, which is on the banks of the Amazon River in Peru.

Participants will have a chance to learn about medicinal plants, and will also study wider issues of the relationships between environment, culture and health. They will meet with an American physician who moved her practice to a nearby Amazon community and will visit some camps of native people.

Several UW faculty members are involved, including Dr. Lingtak-Neander Chan, associate professor of pharmacy; Dr. Jonathan Mayer, professor of geography and epidemiology; and Dr. John Potter, professor of epidemiology and director of international research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

In addition, the group will be joined by guest faculty Dr. James Duke, a respected botanist, and Dr. Linnea Smith, who moved from Wisconsin to the Amazon in the early 1990s to establish a medical clinic.

Among topics covered will be rainforest remedies; diet and disease prevention; ancient medicine and modern cures; global climate change and health; the web of life and of health; hallucinogens, herbs and healing; rainforest ecology; and creatures of the Amazon.

Dr. Karan Dawson, director of Pharmacy Continuing Education, will also be participating. She still has vivid memories of a similar program held 14 years ago at the same Amazon site.

“I can still clearly picture Jim Duke in the jungle with the Shaman at his camp . . . and at the Napo camp, where we also were given information and demonstrations. I can play like a video my visit to Linnea Smith’s clinic and recall things she told us. I can still see her walking along a jungle trail in her skirt and sandals coming to our camp for dinner. As you can see, I remember so much from so long ago because of the indelible and positive nature of the experience,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The program, to be held from March 1 through March 9, will be geared to health-care professionals and carries up to 11.5 contact hours of credit in each of the continuing education programs. The base cost is approximately $2,500 without airfare. For more information on credits, costs and the lodge where the program is based, see the Pharmacy Continuing Education site at http://www.uwcpe.org and the International Expeditions site at http://ietravel.com/workshops.