Global AIDS Week of Action to Screen Documentary

February 18, 2005

Fran Simon
Phone: 504-247-1425

During the week of February 28 - March 4, students at Tulane University School of Medicine will join thousands of medical students across the nation in the Global AIDS Week of Action, sponsored by the American Medical Student Association and Physicians for Human Rights. On Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m., the medical students have arranged for a screening of the documentary, "A Closer Walk," an intimate portrait of some of the millions of lives affected by global AIDS.

Narrated by Will Smith and Glenn Close, the film interviews individuals living with AIDS, children who have been orphaned by the disease, health professionals, prominent celebrities, human rights advocates and social scientists. The film will be shown at McAlister Auditorium located on the uptown campus of Tulane University.

Suggested donation is $5 for students and $7 for members of the general public to support the Reach Out and Read program at the outpatient clinic of the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (Charity Hospital).

"Pediatricians give patients books to take home at all of their pediatric check-ups from six months to five years of age," says John Gonsoulin, a first-year medical student and key organizer of the Week of Action. "Consequently, every child will start school with a home library of at least 10 children's books, and parents will understand that reading aloud is one of the most important things they can do to help their children learn to love books and start school ready to learn."

The film's basic themes are the underlying causes of AIDS; the relationship between health, dignity and human rights; and the universal need for action, compassion and commitment to counter what has become the worst plague in human history. During the Week of Action, Tulane medical students also will be educating their peers about the global AIDS pandemic through panels, speakers and public art. In addition, students will be working to form partnerships with local AIDS organizations in New Orleans.

"AIDS creates 8,200 deaths and 15,000 new infections each day. It's crucial that health professions students work as hard as we can, not only to bring attention to this urgent issue, but also to get the necessary resources to those most affected," says Seema Sharma, a second-year Tulane medical student and co-president of the school's chapter of Physicians for Human Rights.

For more information, contact Sarah Present, health professional student AIDS awareness network coordinator for AMSA at or Seema Sharma, co-president of Physicians for Human Rights at

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000