Spotlight on Ocean Health
Research is ongoing at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, but one week a year, One Health research gets a special campus spotlight. One Health Week October 30 – November 3 brought together students, faculty and staff to share publications, findings and ideas in celebration of the second One Health Day on November 2nd. The One Health concept recognizes that the health of people, animals and the environment are all interconnected, with the goal of encouraging collaboration between multiple disciplines to achieve the best health for all three.
Hosted by the Research and Postgraduate office and organized by a student-faculty committee, One Health Week was an opportunity for RUSVM scientists and students to share ongoing and completed work under one thematic umbrella. This year’s theme was Ocean Health, with presentations concentrating on topics such as coral microbiomes to plastics in the marine environment. Participatory discussions led by faculty and postgraduate students included data collection in the field to workshops on Disease Outbreak & Assessment and Participatory Methods as a Tool in Conflict Resolution.
Each research center also provided an opportunity for MSc, PhD and DVM students to present a variety of field and bench research from ongoing postgraduate work under each of the four research centers at RUSVM. Graduate student work ranged from looking at disease transmission from mosquitos in the Caribbean to control of cysticercosis in Zambia.
The evening One Health Symposium brought together RUSVM researchers and community partners including The Marina at Christophe Harbour, St. Kitts and Nevis Aquaculture Pilot Project (SNAPPER), University of Medicine & Health Sciences (UMHS) and representatives from local government to share topical One Health concerns related to “Ocean Health” such as the consequences of climate change, marine zoonoses and responsible marine stewardship.
“The One Health concept encourages a variety of ideas and approaches,” said Dr. A. Lee Willingham, Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies and Professor of One Health. “One Health Week at RUSVM was an excellent example of many voices coming together to further understand and confront pressing global issues that touch us all.”
Integrated within One Health Week was the second annual One Health Residential Week. The program was an opportunity for Master of Science by Coursework in One Health (MSc One Health) students who study remotely to meet their cohort for face-to-face dialogue in St. Kitts, and participate in a variety of professional development activities. The graduate students in their last year of the program networked, worked one-on-one with research advisors and presented their thesis work to faculty and students.
The week concluded with an Ocean Health Student Fair. RUSVM Student clubs such as the Aquatic Veterinary Medicine club, The Green Initiative, and Wishmakers shared their campaigns and mission alongside key external partners including local charities such as One Love Pets, tackling parasite prevention and increasing public awareness as to the importance of preventative medicine. Representatives from the St. Kitts and Nevis Department of the Environment and the Department of Marine Resources were on hand to promote awareness of their activities across campus.
RUSVM plans to host a third One Health Week to celebrate One Health Day in fall of 2018.