Category Archives: One Health

An Insider’s Guide to RX One Health Course in Tanzania (Part Two): Learning How Much I Don’t Know!

Taylor Calloway (Class of 2018) was one of twenty-one students who participated in the new Rx One Health Course based in Tanzania and Rwanda during June 2017. This is Taylor’s personal narrative aiming to illustrate her daily experiences, a deeper understanding of the One Health approach in a real-world setting, and the big question of “why is this course important.”

Taylor’s journey Part II

06/6/2017

Our group learing about Neema Crafts and how they create prints for their nonprofit organization.

Habari azobuhi (Good morning)!! Starting at seven am with the understanding that three lectures were to come after was not something everyone looks forward to and I certainly did not. Yet, the lectures morphed into deep discussions. There were “big picture” talks on the One Health approach used in Tanzania including the country’s infectious diseases and human-animal conflicts. This made my mind race with ideas on projects yet to begin. I am definitely where I should be to find my niche in veterinary medicine so I can include the One Health approach in life.

We had lunch after touring the place we were gathering for lectures called Neema Crafts. Neema= Grace in Swahili. They are a non-profit organization that employs the local disabled people of Iranga and teaches them trades like weaving, ceramics, metalworking, screen-printing, glass bead making and woodcarving. These are then sold to tourists and some locals for the continuation of the organization.

Our group learning about Neema Crafts and how they create prints for their nonprofit organization.

There was a story that stood out to me. One of the first deaf men employed was found under a basket, hidden away from the world by a family that believed they were cursed. He was given a sign name of hunchback (this is pointing to your back). He worked extremely hard and was promoted to teaching new members the different crafts. After some time, his colleagues did change his name. Now when people ask about him, his sign is two fists pounding downwards. This means I am capable.

Friends already. Mwokozi Mwanzalila and June Barrera are already getting along.

In the afternoon we toured the local markets. People were able to practice their Swahili, bargain for gifts and learn more about the Tanzanian culture. There was a little girl who ran up to me and smiled. I smiled back and said, “mambo” (hello to a friend). “Shikamoo” her little voice responding to me (a respectful hello). The clothes and personalities of everyone we saw and talked with were very unique. There was one man in a bright orange suit, a woman covered from head to toe in a brown cape and another woman with a fur sweatshirt. I am learning that the more I see, the less I know.

My young friend who welcomed me to Tanzania.

Fish at the downtown market place.

Downtown Iringa

First sighting of a veterinary clinic in Iringa .

The evening became a lesson in communication and leadership skills. The whole group discovered our unique styles from a communication and leadership exercise. Without giving too much away, we had to be able to work together to “zoom” in and out of a story. Confusing right? Well we thought so, but in the end we did pull through and find a solution. The exercise reminded us that we all have our own set of skills to bring to the table and by communicating properly, we can help each other figure out a finished product. By the end of it, we were all very proud and tired. Dinner was served and a lecture, led by Dr. Mazet, on soft leadership skills (communication) finished our day around 8:30 pm.

Swahili Words of the Day: Bafum, Shower; Choo, toilet Continue reading

An Insider’s Guide to RX One Health Course in Tanzania (Part One)

Rx One Health Course Travel Blog: The Insiders Guide

Maasi artist

Maasi Mama Rosie Mgemaa made the arm bracelet held by Taylor Calloway (Class of 2018).

Taylor Calloway (Class of 2018) was one of twenty-one students who participated in the new Rx One Health Course based in Tanzania and Rwanda during June 2017. This is Taylor’s personal narrative aiming to illustrate her daily experiences, a deeper understanding of the One Health approach in a real-world setting, and the big question of “why is this course important.”

Follow Taylor’s journey through pictures, videos and tales as she attempts to understand the foundations of One Health while learning new veterinary skills, developing her place in a cooperative and immersive professional team, making life-long memories and friends, and embracing an inimitable, but personally foreign culture.

PART I

06/4/2017

Having never traveled to any African countries before, and this journey being a dream of mine since the age of seven, I was extremely anxious arriving at the San Francisco International Airport. All I could think was “Dang you, Animal Planet, for giving me dreams!”

Once I arrived in D.C. for a connecting flight, two fellow Rx One Health participants found me before our next flights—a classmate, June, and a new friend from Georgia, Marie. Thirteen hours to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia proved to be uneventful, and the next three hours to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania followed suit.

We were luckier than others. Once we arrived, the discovery of lost luggage by a participant and course leader left the three of us empathetic as we all understand that fear. This is especially worrisome as we leave on another plane for Iringa, Tanzania tomorrow morning. Unpredictability is scary and unfortunately a very real issue with international travel in general. Yet, as unsettled as both these individuals were, they also decided to figure out a plausible solution together, which I felt helped ease the unnerving feeling.

Southern Sun Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

I was happy to discover that we all had our own rooms for the first night to settle in and readjust ourselves for what is to come the next month. We were able to eat dinner at the Southern Sun Hotel (which is a beautiful hotel with great food), sing Happy Birthday to Eric, a public health veterinary student, and get to know each other a little before heading to bed early.

First four to meet at the Southern Sun Hotel. Left to right: Maria Ertner (Demark), Alessandra Amadeo (California), June Barrera (California), and Marie Bosch (Georgia).

Continue reading

Medicine is Medicine, Human or Animal

What Can Veterinary and Human Medicine Students Learn From Each Other?

Contributed by Ceyda Bilgir, Class of 2018

Ceyda Bilgir, Class of 2018

Ceyda Bilgir, Class of 2018

Last week we had a great exercise at veterinary school, where we met with students from the UC Davis School of Medicine and worked on a case that exemplifies the One Health approach. It was a valuable experience due to many, many reasons:

– We had thought-provoking discussions on the human side, veterinary side, public health and government regulations side. At the same time we realized the depth of information we lack individually and professionally in each of these facets.

School of Veterinary Medicine students meet with School of Medicine students during a One Health collaboration session. Photo by Don Preisler/UCDavis

School of Veterinary Medicine students meet with School of Medicine students during a One Health collaboration session. Photo by Don Preisler/UCDavis

– We questioned ourselves in what our responsibilities are, and how far we should get involved in the situation vs leave it to other professionals, and pros and cons of each option.

– We are lucky at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to be very One Health oriented; and as a member of the veterinary profession, we are used to the concept of treating the whole patient. It was great to come together with human medicine students and discuss with them about how to go through an interaction with a patient/client and patient and similarities of veterinary medicine to pediatric human medicine.

– We had an emotionally charged case at hand which could have turned really emotional and difficult to deal with very fast. While this was not a priority of our activity today, I can see this being a perfect case for a client simulation lab where one really needs to think about how to handle best. I couldn’t help but think of what I would have done if I was involved in such a case.

– I was able to see mock interviews of human medicine students. They were similar to our client simulation labs, yet at some level so different too.

– It was a great opportunity to learn from each side: We were asked questions about veterinary medicine and schooling, and we learned about the structure of human medicine schools. It was a pleasure to partake in such a curious give and take. It was very honest, very open and very sincere.

Overall it was relieving to see veterinary medicine being taken seriously on the front lines of human medicine. I would like to think we left our fellow human medicine students with some respect in what we do and with more interest and curiosity in a One Health approach.

I certainly was impressed in their eagerness and openness. I am already looking forward to have more lively chats with fellow medical students.

Curious? Learn more here.

Making a Difference in Chile

Contributed by Marlene Belmar, Class of 2018

Photos courtesy of Dr. Gerardo Acosta

Marlene Belmar in Chile

Marlene Belmar in Chile

My life long career goal within veterinary medicine is to specialize in epidemiology and apply my knowledge and skills towards a better understanding of zoonotic diseases. This past summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Chile to participate in a research project entitled “Control and Prevention of Hydatidosis/Echinococcosis in the communes of Punitaqui, Monte Patria and Combarbalá within the province of Limarí in the region of Coquimbo,” under the mentorship of Dr. Gerardo Acosta-Jamett.

Hydatidosis is a zoonotic disease of high public health concern within Chile, where dogs are the intermediate host and herbivores and humans are the definitive host. Studies evaluating risk factors associated with the presence of E. granulosus in dog feces have only been initiated recently. Having the opportunity to participate in a project that is striving to improve the lives of people and animals in underserved areas of Chile sparked all of my interests. Continue reading

Learning Compassion and Research in Uganda

Contributed by Cody Blumenshine, Class of 2018

Cody Blumenshine surrounded by village kids in Uganda.

Cody Blumenshine surrounded by village kids in Uganda.

My interest coming into veterinary school has been to pursue a career in zoonotic disease research. With my interest in zoonotic diseases, the idea of One Health resonates with my perspective on life. I was fortunate to find a research project with Dr. Beatriz Martinez Lopez that allowed me to incorporate a One Health approach. With aid from the Office for Global Programs and Students Training in Advanced Research, I was able to spend six weeks in Nwoya District, Northern Uganda, performing research on African Swine Fever (ASF). ASF is not a zoonotic disease, but because of the disease dynamics in how the hosts, people, and the environment interact, it embodies One Health.

At the beginning of my stay I was very fortunate to have a friend and colleague, Dr. Esther Kukielka, aid me. She helped me prepare for my research, but she also helped me transition into the lifestyle and expectations that were associated with staying in Uganda. The latter was more important to me, because this was my first international travel experience. Esther introduced me to locals, team members, and she made sure I was well situated with the accommodations of our mud-hut in the village of Lutuk. Prior to leaving, Esther allowed me to help facilitate a participatory epidemiology exercise for her study. The exercise consisted of using group activities with local pig farmers to gain a deeper understanding of their collective knowledge of ASF. Continue reading