May 1, 2003 - 12:00pm

What was the EXPO?

Every year, 14 million people die from treatable infectious diseases, a quarter of all deaths worldwide. Over 90% of the victims live in developing countries. Access to treatment for these diseases is problematic because the medicines are unaffordable, ineffective due to resistance, or not adapted to local conditions. Further, drug discovery targeted at infectious diseases in poor countries has virtually come to a standstill.

Between March 2002 and May 2003, MSF took an interactive travelling exhibit to over 30 cities in 20 states across the U.S. to help raise awareness about the access crisis. To learn more about the crisis, and what MSF is doing, visit the MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign web site.

How did it work?

MSF's Expo was an interactive exhibit that personalized the experience of living in a developing country with an infectious disease.


The EXPO began by spinning the wheel of misfortune, with a color that corresponds to one of five diseases: Sleeping Sickness, Kala Azar, Tuberculosis, Malaria or HIV/AIDS.


Once visitors were "infected", they travelled through the exhibit as if they were one of our patients, learning more about the symptoms of the disease, and about the countries where the diseases are prevalent.


Finally, visitor "patients" had a mock consultation with one of MSF's volunteer doctors or nurses to discuss treatment options or lack thereof.

The Petition

The Access to Essential Medicines Petition In conjunction with the Access EXPO Tour, Doctors Without Borders started a petition campaign calling the U.S. Government and PhRMA to put more resources into research and development for new medicines for neglected diseases. Visitors to the EXPO were invited to sign the two-part card below, or to sign online at our website.

Who Signed The Access to Essential Medicines Petition?

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) collected over 200,000 signatures as part of an international effort to push for improved access to essential medicines for people in developing countries. In the United States we collected over 30,000 signatures, representing concerned individuals from every State and Territory. Supporters included:

Alan Alda

Kenneth Bart, MD
Director, San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health*

Mark Becker, PhD
Dean, University of Minnesota School of Public Health*

Georges Benjamin, MD
Executive Director, American Public Health Association

Barry Bloom, MPH
Dean, Harvard School of Public Health*

Richard Besdine, MD
Interim Dean, Brown University School of Medicine and Biological Sciences*

Jackson Browne
Recording Artist

Pierre Buekens, MD
Dean, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine*

L. Maximilian Buja, MD
Dean, University of Texas Medical School*

Kate Capshaw

Christine Cassel, MD
Dean, Oregon Health & Science University, School of Medicine*

Kathleen Chalfant

Aram Chobanian, MD
Dean and Provost, Boston University School of Medicine*

John G. Clarkson, MD
Dean, University of Miami School of Medicine*

James Curran, MD, MPH
Dean, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health*

John Daly, MD
Dean, Temple University School of Medicine

William Deal, MD
Vice President and Dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine*

Peter Deckers, MD
Dean, University of Connecticut School of Medicine*

Haile Debas, MD
Dean, UNC-San Francisco School of Medicine and Vice-Chancellor for Medical Affairs

J. Kevin Dorsey, MD, PhD
Dean and Provost, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine*

Evan Farmer, MD
Dean and Provost, Eastern Virginia Medical School*

Eugene Feigelson, MD
Dean, SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine*

Gerald Fischbach, MD
Dean, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons*

Robert Gallo, MD
Director, University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology*

Steven G. Gabbe, MD
Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine*

Richard Gere

Marla J. Gold, MD
Dean, Drexel University School of Public Health*

Audrey Gotsch, DrPH, CHES
Dean, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public Health*

David Ho, MD
Director & CEO, The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Irene Diamond Professor, Rockefeller University*

Jeffrey Houpt, MD
Vice-Chancellor for Medical Affairs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dean, School of Medicine*

Patricia Johnston, DrPH, MS, RD
Dean, Loma Linda University School of Public Health*

David Kessler, MD
Dean, Yale University School of Medicine and former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)*
Larry Kramer
Writer and co-founder of GMHC and ACTUP

Mathilde Krim, PhD
Chairman of the Board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)*

Donald Louria, MD
Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Preventive Medicine, New Jersey Medical School*

Peter Levine
Dean, University of Albany SUNY School of Public Health*

Laurie MacDonald Parkes and Walter F. Parkes
Heads, DreamWorks Motion Pictures

Floyd J. Malveaux, MD, PhD
Dean, Howard University College of Medicine *

Joseph Martin, MD, PhD
Dean, Harvard Medical School*

James Merchant, MD, DrPH
Dean, University of Iowa College of Public Health*

Nathalie Merchant
Recording artist

Michael Merson, MD
Yale University School of Medicine, Dean of Public Health*

Grant Morrow III, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health*, Former Chairman of the American Board of Pediatrics*

Leonard & Susan Nimoy

Ralph O'Connell, MD
Dean, New York Medical College*

Mandy Patinkin

Philip A. Pizzo, MD
Dean, Stanford School of Medicine*

Deborah Powell, MD
Dean, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities School of Medicine*

Dominick Purpura, MD
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Dean Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine*

Paul Ramsey, MD
Dean, School of Medicine, University of Washington*

Dianne Reeves
Recording artist

Lee Reichman, MD
Executive Director, New Jersey Medical School National Tuberculosis Center*

Richard Rockefeller, MD
Chair, Board of Advisors, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Allan Rosenfield, MD
Dean, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University*

Linda Rosenstock, MD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health, UCLA*

Dr. George Rupp
Executive Director, International Rescue Committee

Meg Ryan

Jeffery Sachs, PhD
Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University*

David Satcher, MD, PhD
Director, National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine* and former U.S. Surgeon General

Doug Scutchfield, MD
Director, University of Kentucky School of Public Health*

Stephen M. Shortell, PhD
Dean, School of Public Health, UC-Berkeley*

Ralph Snyderman, MD
Executive Dean, Duke University School of Medicine*

Alfred Sommer, MD
Dean, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University*

Richard Southby, PhD
Interim Dean, George Washington University School of Public Health*

Steven Spielberg
Co-principal, Dreamworks SKG

Patrick Stewart

Recording artist

Trudi Styler

Julie Taymor
Director and producer

Patricia Wahl, PhD
Dean, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine*

Joseph B. Warshaw, MD
Dean, University of Vermont College of Medicine*

Alek Wek

John Williams, MD, Ed.D
Dean, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences*

R. Sanders Williams, MD
Dean, Duke University School of Medicine*

Anthony Windebank, MB, BS, MD
Dean, Mayo Medical School*

*Organizational affiliation for identification purposes only.

Organizational Endorsements

ACT UP/New York
African Services Committee
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Treatment Data Network
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)
Artists for a New South Africa
Association of Scientists and Physicians of African Descent (ASPAD)
Church World Service
European AIDS Treatment Group
Gay Men's Health Crisis
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Alliance for TB Drug Development
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+)
Health GAP
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
International Rescue Committee
Kids for World Health
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Oxfam America
Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC)

Petition Delivery in Washington, D.C.

Darin Portnoy, MD, Vice-President of MSF-USA's Board of Directors, and Jake Feinman of Kids for World Health walk through the halls of the White House to deliver the petition.


Kids for World Health members march through the streets of Washington, DC. This group was founded two years ago by 8-year-olds from Larchmont, NY to fight for treatments for sleeping sickness.


The Access EXPO opened in Washington with a silent vigil.


At a March 14th press conference,
Jill Seaman, MD, speaks of her experiences treating kala azar patients in southern Sudan.


Jake Feinman of Kids for World Health and Rachel Cohen of MSF-USA speak to Senator Hillary Clinton about the problem of access to safe, affordable treatment for sleeping sickness.


Richard Rockefellar, MD, Chair of the MSF-USA Advisory Board, presents the petition to Alan Holmer, President of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).