Close-up of researcher Elita Poplavska
In preparation for Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Research Week which will be held in April 2019, our researchers answer three short questions which provide insight into their achievements, as well as their current research interests. We invite you to save the dates of 1 to 5 April in your calendars so you can be part of this main RSU research event!
Assistant Professor Elita Poplavska, who is also Head of the Department of Dosage Form Technology at the Faculty of Pharmacy at RSU, views that future pharmacists should also learn social pharmacy and improve their communication skills. Patients will benefit from an emphasis on interdisciplinary studies in the education of pharmacists. Similarly, Elita's research activities are also aimed at the patient as the beneficiary. As leading researcher at the RSU Institute of Public Health, Elita focuses on the availability of medicines.
Why do I conduct research?
Although my involvement in pharmacy seemed to be a natural progression, as at school I was good at chemistry, I had never dreamed of an academic career in my field. I was led to it by people whom I met during my studies. At a conference in Poland, where I was informing others about pharmaceutical care in Latvia, I met colleagues from USA, among them Linda Strand, a professor emerita of the University of Minnesota, who not only encouraged me to try to pursue doctoral studies in USA, but was also the supervisor of my doctoral thesis. When I was in USA, the world of science opened up to me in all its glory – there I realised how beautiful it is to explore and study, and to put the puzzle together, piece by piece. In USA, I also found my research focus, which continues to excite me – the social aspects of the use of medicines. This field is highly interdisciplinary, that’s why it is even more exciting.
Why will I attend the RSU international scientific conference?
It is already clear that the subsection titled Clinical and Social Pharmacy in the Pharmacy section of the RSU Scientific Conference will be very interesting. I am particularly looking forward to the presentation by Ingrid Sketris, guest lecturer from Canada, because her research focus is the rational use of medicines, improvement of pharmaceutical care in hospitals and primary healthcare.
I plan to present two reports. In the Pharmacy section, together with my colleagues Marija Čeha and Ieva Salmane-Kuļikovska, I will present a study about market analysis of generic medicine in Latvia – trends in action policy and the availability of medicines. Also, at the University Pedagogy Thematic Conference “Students in the Role of Researchers”, together with my colleagues Nora Jansone-Ratinika and Rudīte Koka I will speak about our experience with the study course Social Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Care, where we made significant improvements in the last year and introduced new study methods to help students prepare better for OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) which reveals a student's competence in consulting a patient. During the entire process we evaluated how successfully we have managed to develop these competences among students.
Why should you attend the conference?
First of all, research requires discussion and constructive criticism; therefore, every important international scientific conference is very significant. Secondly, very often we don't even realise, how much is happening in science at RSU or in Latvia. At the conference, participants will have the opportunity to find out about all current research directions in one place, meet colleagues from other structural units and propose ideas for cooperation – which could also be interdisciplinary – and may lead to new grant applications, international publications.