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Graduate Student Appeared on NBC's The Today Show

Photo Graduate student Milli Reddy represented the College of Pharmacy on the Friday (February 13) edition of The Today Show when she discussed her proposal to improve quality of life to AIDS and HIV patients in South Africa.

She is one of three UT pharmacy students who were slated to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University hosted by UT Austin on Friday and Saturday (February 13-14).

Other pharmacy students participating include Karla Cruz (P-3) and Misbah Moten (P-2) who attended the conference armed with ideas to expand global awareness of antibiotics and the growing emergence of antibiotic resistant "super bugs".

The conference is a product of the William J. Clinton Foundation, established by former U.S. President Bill Clinton with the stated mission to "strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence." The foundation focuses on four critical areas: health security, economic empowerment, leadership development and citizen service, and racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation.

All of the approximate 1,000 attendees were expected to make a Commitment to Action -- a comprehensive formal plan of action to address a specific problem.

Cruz and Moten say they plan to utilize the college's student organizations and their affiliations with similar student organizations across the nation to help educate the public more fully about antibiotics.

"Where all of our student organizations have wonderful causes they foster, we see this as an opportunity to see the entire college community get behind this important issue," Moten said.

Reddy's program involves providing support to patients in South Africa who live with HIV and AIDS and to the clinics that provide services to them.

Currently several public health care clinics and hospitals are dispensing antiretroviral medication funded by the South African government. Her plan involves setting up an anti-retroviral drug and research center at the Dream Center, a non-profit HIV care facility situated in Kwa-Zula Natal, South Africa.

"My intention is to collaborate with the South African Department of Health to create a central registry of patients," she explained. "Such a registry could be used to conduct health outcomes research and adverse drug reaction surveillance."

Her long-term plan is to extend the services within the Dream Center to include psychological and emotional support, and to partner with the Retired Teachers Association in the area to offer educational assistance to patients whose schooling was affected by their disease.

On the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative conference, attendees volunteered their time working on various community service activities at the Rosewood Park and Recreation Center in East Austin.

Last Reviewed: February 16, 2009

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