College of Veterinary Medicine students Ashley Miller, left, and Logan McAllister provide information on One Health while giving “vaccines” during an “outbreak.”

Western University of Health Sciences held its second annual One Health Day activities Nov. 1-2, 2019, which included an interprofessional panel, student poster presentations and a symposium.

The official observance of One Health Day is Nov. 3. One Health Day raises awareness about the One Health approach to complex health problems involving people, animals and the environment. Click here to read more: https://www.onehealthcommission.org/en/events/one_health_day/

The One Health Day Panel featured presentations and discussions on a variety of topics from multiple disciplines, including veterinary medicine, osteopathic medicine, health sciences and optometry.

The One Health events were organized by College of Veterinary Medicine Professor Suzana Tkalcic, DVM, PhD, with support from Senior Vice President for Research and Biotechnology Devendra Agrawal, PhD, MBA.

“To integrate the knowledge from various disciplines and bring them all together, I think this is one of the best initiatives we can promote,” Agrawal said. “Be assured, the Office of Research and Biotechnology will always be there to help you in any way we can for this particular initiative. This is of upmost importance especially for this campus because we have nine health science colleges with our common mission to move forward through the pursuit of excellence in interdisciplinary research, education and training initiatives.”

Tkalcic also thanked Dr. Steven Henriksen for his support of WesternU’s One Health Day activities from the start.

The panel was streamed to the WesternU Oregon campus, and two Lebanon-based faculty members gave presentations. To view the One Health Panel, visit: https://mediaweb.westernu.edu/Mediasite/Play/d7905d77a5d4476bb073da26f965285e1d

The WesternU Bookstore held a special sale in honor of One Health Day and the Harriet K. and Philip Pumerantz Library organized an informative exhibit featuring some of the outstanding WesternU faculty who practice the One Health concept year-round. The exhibit is in the library’s lobby throughout November. Check out the exhibit slideshow on the Pumerantz Library’s Instagram page.

WesternU students also took an active approach to spreading the One Health message. CVM student Logan McAllister successfully applied for a grant from the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). WesternU’s SAVMA chapter organized One Health activities along with the Global Health Club and the Public Health Club. WesternU students submitted poster abstracts that were related to One Health, which in itself was a learning experience.

“We know not only veterinary students but all the students on campus actually do work that they might not even realize connects to One Health,” said CVM student and SAVMA Senior Delegate Ashley Miller. “So we put a call for abstracts out, and we went around to the different colleges and got ideas. Even just reaching out, we were able to expose people to the idea of One Health.”

Five students submitted posters and gave presentations on how their research connected to One Health. A student panel of judges awarded first place to CVM student Adam Krantz for his project “Comparing the microbiome of two types of vectors inhabiting the same location: Geese Vs. Flies.” CVM student Nathan Sharp won second place for “Effect of Carotenoid Dietary Supplementation on the Cutaneous Microbiome in Captive Golden Dart Frogs (Phyllobates terribilis).”

SAVMA organized an “outbreak” where “infected” students got a red sticker. If they came to the One Health table to learn about One Health they received a “vaccine.”

Click here to view WesternU SAVMA photos on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/westernusavma/

“One Health is huge and I don’t think people necessarily know the term,” Miller said. “Physicians, veterinarians, the public health sector and environmentalists all play a vital role in understanding what is going on in each of their sectors. We need to come together. It seems to be opening up. It’s about starting the conversation so the idea catches on.”

“I cannot be more proud of our students,” Tkalcic said. “They were not just present in the audience. They took it to whole different level and made it a really successful activity. They made it visual for others to embrace it.”

 

Western University of Health Sciences follows the true idea of the One Health mission, and the goal is to make this a sustainable endeavor every year, Tkalcic said.

“Everybody contributes. That’s my end goal,” she said. “As part of the WesternU family, we have a way to broadcast to each other what we have, how we can do more, and where can we improve world health in general.”

Academia needs to lead the way, Tkalcic said. WesternU already has several translational research endeavors that contribute to the One Health initiative.

“We have the expertise, the will and the means to get funding,” she said. “We need to be spreading a very clear message that we are here to help. This is what we can do. This is what we are doing, what our research and teaching is doing. We are making the world a better place through the promotion and protection of health.”