SDSU student joins fight against Ebola

By Viraj Patel Reporter

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are preparing to fight Ebola, SDSU has someone who is joining in on the fight too.

Christophina Lynch is a final year PhD Pharmaceutical Science student. She made the decision to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone, her home country and one of the three most heavily affected countries in the world. Through the Student Passion Panel, a Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College event held

in late September, and her TEDx talk she has been raising awareness about Ebola.

Fear spread across the country after news broke that Ebola had reached the United States. Ebola has been diagnosed in four US citizens, with one death.

“What we should know is that Ebola is a deadly virus. It causes hemorrhage, that is the bleeding within the body through ruptured blood vessels and it causes death,” Lynch said. “I had this image of people dying because of Ebola and since I knew it could be prevented I wanted to do my part in order to save people’s life. I had to start somewhere

and being familiar with Sierra Leone, it seemed a good place to start.

Lynch contributes to raising Ebola awareness by creating “relief packages.” The packages contain a variety of supplies ranging from “gloves to sanitizers, from face masks to suits” from an organization called Global Links, which is a “Pittsburgh-based medical relief and development organization.” Global Links then sends out the packages “to the affected countries.”

“A project like this requires a strong support system. I talked to my advisor, Kenneth Walker at Emory University and Teresa Seefeldt at SDSU about

this idea,” Lynch said
Teresa Seefeldt is an associate

professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at SDSU. “When Christophina first approached me with the idea for fundraising for medical supplies for Sierra Leone, I knew that we needed to get more people involved in order to maximize the outreach efforts,” Seefeldt said. “Since I advise student organizations in the College of Pharmacy, I know that the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists has an international affiliation through the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation. I approached the

student leaders at the SDSU chapter about getting involved, and they enthusiastically supported the idea.”

An Ebola focus group of SDSU’s Pharmacy Students was initiated. “Dr. Seefeldt thought that APhA-ASP of SDSU would be a good fit for what Christophina had in mind,” said Traci Eilers, president- elect of APhA-ASP. “It seemed like the right thing to do. People were dying everywhere when it could be prevented with some care.” Eilers said, “It can be catastrophic and we don’t want it to be that way.”

“First of all, I believe the person who is emigrating from the affected countries

has a responsibility to provide assurance that he or she is not infected with Ebola in order to prevent any further spread of the disease,” Lynch said. ”Secondly, if a person thinks he or she has the symptoms of Ebola, the person should inform the doctors of it before going to meet them in person, this can help the concerned authorities be ready with protective gear in order to reduce the effect of possible transmission to other people as well as themselves.”

Lynch said there will be events in the future to help benefit the Ebola Initiative.