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

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.



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

Leadership Critical to Future of Veterinary Medicine

Delegates to the SAVMA Symposium included from left: Navneet Saini (Class of 2019), Elizabeth Malcolm (Class of 2018), and Jamie Lemus (Class of 2020)

Contributed by Elizabeth Malcolm, Class of 2018 

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the SAVMA Symposium at Texas A&M along with seven other veterinary students from UC Davis. I attended on behalf of the SAVMA Executive Board, while other students attended to represent our local chapter.

During the House of Delegates (HOD) meetings, Navneet Saini (SAVMA Delegate and Class of 2019) accepted the Teaching Excellence award on behalf of Dr. Jim Clark, which was a huge honor as this was the second year in a row UC Davis has received this award. In addition, the HOD recognized Tereza Chylkova (Class of 2017) as the recipient of the Jon Pitts award. This award recognizes one veterinary student that has gone above and beyond in service and dedication to the veterinary profession. The awards received during Symposium are of high honor, and represent the incredible students and faculty we are blessed to have here at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

My involvement in organized medicine has been incredibly rewarding, as it has allowed me to experience first-hand the impact that one person, be that a student or veterinarian, can have on our profession. After I return from each of these symposiums, I always feel inspired and motivated to advocate further for issues that affect our profession. Whether the topic relates to challenges we face such as student debt, or mental health and wellness, or conversely celebrating scientific advances we have made, everything discussed on a national level has direct impacts on our experiences as veterinarians.

If there is one thing I could pass on to students of this profession, I would encourage them to become as involved in leadership roles and organized medicine as possible. Our profession is incredibly small and interconnected, and it is magnificent to feel like we can all make a difference for ourselves and others. I have no double that is truly the best profession in the world.


Learning the Importance of Advocacy in Veterinary Medicine

Contributed by Roxana Bordbar, Class of 2018

In front of the CVMA headquarters in Sacramento, from left to right: Valerie Fenstermaker, Vicky Yang, Elizabeth Malcolm, Grant Miller, Roxana Bordbar, Julie Dobbs, Audrey Buatois, Elizabeth Tenborg, Christina Thompson, Jenny Tsai, Christina DiCaro, Della Yee.

In front of the CVMA headquarters in Sacramento, from left to right: Valerie Fenstermaker, Vicky Yang, Elizabeth Malcolm, Grant Miller, Roxana Bordbar, Julie Dobbs, Audrey Buatois, Elizabeth Tenborg, Christina Thompson, Jenny Tsai, Christina DiCaro, Della Yee.

For many veterinary students at UC Davis, the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), may often seem like an enigmatic entity. Everyone knows what the CVMA is, but many are not quite sure what the CVMA actually does behind the scenes. Thus, it was the mission of Elizabeth Malcolm and I to change that, at least for a few students. We wanted to bring students up close and personal to the action—we wanted to show them what the CVMA and organized veterinary medicine really does for the veterinary profession.

It all started in February of 2016, when Elizabeth and I had the life-changing opportunity of attending the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) legislative fly-in as the SAVMA Delegate and CVMA Student Representative, respectively. To sum it up, we flew to Washington D.C. where we were briefed by the AVMA on current legislation important to veterinarians and veterinary students, and we subsequently went to Capitol Hill to advocate and lobby for these positions at the offices of Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Congressman John Garamendi. Let’s just say that it was an incredibly successful trip; we learned so much and we came back invigorated and full of passion for organized veterinary medicine and advocacy! Continue reading

Mongolia Adventures in Research

Contributed by Devin von Stade, Class of 2017

group_Serguleng photo

Members of the research team from left to right: Gar Waterman, Devin von Stade, Samantha Lawton, Emily Iacobucci, Douglas Lally and Devin Byrne. (Photo: Soyolbolod Serguleng)

This summer I realized a dream I had left on the back burner for over a decade: exploring Mongolia with one of my best friends. Inspired by old National Geographic articles and pieces of historical fiction and non-fiction alike, we had declared it the ultimate personal adventure. Having grown up (a little) since then, I briefly considered that my excitement at the prospect was perhaps misplaced, that now as a scientist my idea of adventure no longer applied, but I was so very wrong.

An adventure for me is an unusual experience where I face natural and cultural challenges, where I encounter new animals while camping under a foreign sky—an experience where preconceptions are broken down and questions have to be answered from scratch. This idea is as much entwined with the fantasy of youth as it is with a scientific approach. I went to Mongolia to test a field microscope as part of my summer STAR research project where I was assessing the capabilities of a low-cost digital microscope for veterinary tele-medical applications and preconceptions would only hold me back. 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.