Category Archives: One Health

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

One Health Summer School in South Africa

By Carolina Vicario, Class of 2016

pic13Of all the nooks and niches on this planet, where would be your number one destination? A year ago, mine was South Africa. The stories I heard from my friends who studied abroad in South Africa made it the top country on my wish list and the many visits to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park throughout my childhood built up an immense awe and adoration for “safari animals.”

My experiences through the Students for One Health Club at UC Davis also sparked my passion for interdisciplinary problem solving to complex health problems. During the summer of 2014, I got to experience these passions in unique combination through a One Health Summer School, and research project living in Kruger National Park.

One Health Summer School through the University of Pretoria (South Africa’s veterinary school)

Two UC Davis veterinary students, a UC Davis faculty member and I joined a group of veterinary and PhD students from around the world. The Netherlands, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and England were among the countries represented. This two-week traveling course placed us in the context (physically, intellectually, and emotionally) of various dilemmas. A theme throughout the course was certainly exposure, but more so what would you do about this? What should or shouldn’t you do about this? And how?

I will walk you through some of the most challenging conflicts that were presented to us—the ones that impacted me the most. Continue reading