Course title: PCL389H The role of pharmacology and toxicology in society
 
Contact Info: Prof Michelle Arnot, michelle.arnot@utoronto.ca tel: 416-978-3164
 
Pharmacology and Toxicology play important roles in our daily lives. While the majority of current courses focus on the “scientific” and “therapeutic” aspects of pharmaceuticals and commercial chemicals, their broader effects in society are not explicitly addressed and/or poorly understood by students. This course is a service-learning course that will place students in communities that are affected by these therapeutic/toxic compounds in ways that are difficult to teach in a traditional classroom. By integrating guest lectures, in-class discussions and student placements in community organizations, this course will integrate scientific concepts with the social, economic, political and health issues surrounding the effects that substance (mis)use has in society.
 
When will the course run? Sept 7- Dec 6 2017
 
How many students? 40
 
Proposed timeline of service-learning placements: Matches will be done between Sept 13-Sept 15, for placements to start quickly after Sept 20 and run no later than Dec 1.
 
How many total hours would you like students to be placed for? Student should be spending approximately 20 hours from Sept. to Dec. with the community placement on placement activities.
 
If there is a specific day of week or time of day that is required for a placement with your organization, or if you prefer an individual or a team, please specify in the returned information you provide about your organization and the placement opportunity.
 
Student Learning
 
In Course Learning (skills, theories, processes, disciplinary knowledge): The focus of this course will be to provide students with an opportunity to become more aware of the realities of drug “misuse”/substance use disorder. With a background in pharmacology and toxicology principles they will expand their knowledge regarding drug use with the opportunity to make links between what is discussed in class while interacting with groups that work with the social, health, economic, and ethical aspects of drug misuse. Through volunteering with people that support and work for improved health and comprehension of drug misuse, students will have an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the larger factors that are involved in drug use, aside from drug design, development and therapeutic indices. It is one thing to stand in front of a class and state the mechanism of action and the statistics underlying drug misuse – it is another to be interacting with front-line harm reduction workers who engage with these issues daily, and personally.
 
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
By the end of the course the student should be able to:
1. Differentiate between different drugs of misuse, their mechanism of action and understand the physiology of drug addiction;
2. Identify broader aspects of drug addiction and abuse by examining social, political and economic factors;
3. Appraise current socio-economic and political policies within Canada and around the world in regards to drug addiction;
4. Recognize the ethical and social responsibility behind the decisions of policy;
5. Examine how their ideas of drug misuse may or may not have changed over the course;
6. Recognize preconceived ideas about individuals struggling with addictions;
7. Associate/summarize awareness about the role of community engagement;
8. Understand the role science plays in both the affliction and the putative cure, linking student awareness between what goes on in research lab/classroom with outside community.
 
Purpose of service-learning placement: The goal of this course is to provide our community partner with students who are able to assist meet partner needs and goals while simultaneously providing students an opportunity to broaden their experiences as well as apply their knowledge and skills from their discipline in various aspects of outreach-awareness, education and through interacting directly with clientele.
 
Role of reflection:
Students will be asked to reflect on their placement experiences and link this with material and articles discussed in class, identifying social factors and examining stigmas that surround the drug misuse communities. They will be asked to reflect on their own personal perspective, experience and with guidance be asked to re-examine the origin of their knowledge base and values. We will be discussing health and social policy and have guest instructors to help guide them through discussions on bioethics, lobbying and health and social programs.
 
Placement:
Proposed learning objectives for placement
  • Identify broader aspects of substance use by examining social, political and economic factors;
  • Appraise current socio-economic and political policies within Canada and around the world in regards to drug addiction;
  • Recognize the ethical and social responsibility behind the decisions of policy;
  • Examine how their ideas of drug use may or may not have changed over the course;
  • Recognize preconceived ideas about individuals struggling with drug use;
  • Associate/summarize awareness about the role of community engagement;
  • Understand the role science plays in both the affliction and the putative cure, linking student awareness between what goes on in research lab/classroom with outside community.
Expectation of partners.
Provide students with an opportunity to broaden their experience, knowledge and understanding through research or development of education and awareness projects, or through interacting with your clientele via outreach programs. Our community partners are asked to provide on-site student training in regards to their role with the partner and, if willing (but not necessary), we would be excited to have in-class visit(s) regarding a particular area of the community partner’s specialization (i.e., role of the partner in social/health policy).
 
What will students bring to the placement? (strengths, knowledge, experience)
Our students provide you, the community partner, with bright engaged workers with background knowledge of the pharmacology and physiology of drugs and their addiction potential, and excellent research and information literacy and technology skills. These students are willing, interested in learning as well as strengthening their capacities for compassion. They can assist with putting together documents, ad campaigns, grants, information posters, assembling support packages for outreach teams. Many of these students will go on to medical school, pharmacy and graduate work in pharmacology and the pharmaceutical industry.
 
Sample placement or project ideas. If your placement involves working with vulnerable populations (seniors, children and youth and people with disabilities) please consult with CCP prior to submission.
  • Create posters, pamphlets regarding particular drugs which are often used
  • Develop and deliver seminar or talk for your organization regarding drug-use related topic.
  • Assist with outreach activities within your organization