Ahmed Samir Abdel Hamed, Cairo University
Biobanking is a new concept in Egypt and knowledge about it is still limited. Only two biobanks exist here with a third under construction. In order to raise awareness about biobanking among medicals students, who represent future researchers and biobank end-users, we conducted a two day introductory course for about 40 of them at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine.
The course, held February 6-7, provided basic knowledge about issues related to biobanking and medical research including ethics, quality, and information technology. It also included discussion on applications in medical research that necessitate the presence of biobanks, including pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. In addition to traditional lectures, we also used case studies (real and hypothetical) to explain ethics, and a humorous quiz to explain quality.
To market and advertise this course, we focused on Facebook and word of mouth, which was a successful strategy because the target group (medical students) use social media networks extensively. However, the main drawback to this limited approach is that we could have reached more participants with more extensive marketing.
In order to evaluate the students’ understanding of the material presented, we used a pre-test and post-test along with a survey to evaluate the quality of the content. Although we had some organizational problems, participants were generally satisfied and happy with the scientific content and are willing to spread the message of biobanking.
Author Ahmed Samir Abdel Hamed is an Assistant Lecturer of Clinical Pathology at the National Cancer Institute at Cairo University. He is also a member of the team responsible for establishing the Egyptian National Cancer Institute (ENCI) Biobank.