Nearly 300 students from 50 universities, including 5 students from UBC, gathered in Boston over the September 28-30 weekend for UAEM’s annual conference. We discussed strategy, shared knowledge and ideas, met a lot of amazing people, and had a lot of fun!
At the conference, five universities gave talks on the progress at their own chapters. UBC student Patricia Kretz gave a presentation on behalf of UBC, describing the great successes we have had in our short history as a group. Throughout the conference, we were approached by other students telling us how impressed they were with what was happening at UBC; and during a presentation on UAEM’s strategy over the next year, UAEM Director Ethan Guillen singled out UBC as the clear leader in ensuring access to medical innovations, demonstrating a level of commitment that all schools should strive towards.
We met students from 7 other Canadian universities, most of whom were just starting chapters, so we established the UAEM Canadian Coalition (provisional title) to discuss UAEM’s goals in the Canadian context, coordinate national campaigns, and support developing chapters.
We learned a great deal at the conference. Introductory tracks gave us valuable insight into how we might present the fundamental issues we work on to a beginner audience, and advanced tracks discussed issues such as technology transfer metrics, a proposed meeting of Senior Research Officers, licensing strategies for biologicals, and patent pools. Other talks discussed political and legislative advocacy, drug-specific access campaigns looking at Zemplar and the HPV vaccine, and working with the press. Finally, we came away inspired by presentations on UAEM’s history, accomplishments, and ambitious plans for the future.
Our attendance was possible thanks to the very generous support of the University-Industry Liaison Office, the Office of the Vice President Research, the Walter H. Gage Memorial Fund, and UAEM itself (through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation). Thank you very much to our sponsors: we couldn’t have done it without you!