One Health Day, Every Day at RUSVM
One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines to achieve optimal health for people, animals and the environment. The approach recognizes that the health of all three are interconnected, with efforts focused locally, nationally, and globally. The term One Health is fairly new, but the concept has been recognized by scientists since the 1800s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On Nov. 3, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) students and faculty introduced the first One Health Day on campus to raise awareness of how much we depend on our environment for food, water, shelter and overall health. The events on campus were held in conjunction with 130 One Health Day events that took place across 37 countries.
As part of One Health Day, RUSVM students participated in a team competition hosted by the One Health Commission to advance awareness and understanding of the concept. As part of the competition, postgraduate students and RUSVM student clubs led a One Health Day, Every Day Fair to share environmentally friendly projects and lifestyle choices with the campus community. A total of 549 students, faculty and staff attended the fair.
“RUSVM is uniquely positioned to test and apply One Health approaches because of the diversity of cultures within our campus, and the richness of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. We are capitalizing on the 1st International One Health Day to start interventions geared to improve the health of our local environment, which in turn translates into improved human and animal health,” said Luis Cruz-Martinez, Assistant Professor of Veterinary Medicine. “Our suggested interventions range from simple changes in our routines like bringing our own reusable containers instead of using single-use plastic and Styrofoam food containers to medium and long-term plans in the future. We have the potential to become a role model institution, an extraordinarily green campus, and we can also have a ripple effect by working with the St. Kitts and Nevis community for making this beautiful island healthier.”
RUSVM also hosted an evening One Health Symposium with the theme of antimicrobial resistance. Speakers from RUSVM included Dr. Lee Willingham, Dr. Luca Guardabassi and Dr. Luis Cruz-Martinez. Guest speakers included faculty from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences and Windsor University School of Medicine in St. Kitts and Microbiology Laboratory Services and Consultations, St Lucia. Continuing the theme of antimicrobial resistance, at the conclusion of the symposium DVM and postgraduate students participated in a display of 15 student poster presentations.
"One Health is not about one profession or one idea. It is a multitude of disciplines that work together with a common goal-- to enrich, enhance, and preserve the health of our planet and all that call it home. This fair was a reflection of this concept,” said Tara Agostini, RUSVM MSc Candidate. “By allowing students and faculty the opportunity to express how ‘One Health’ relates to us all, it inspired individuals to recognize the importance of unity and teamwork when faced with global health challenges.”
RUSVM offers a Master of Science by Coursework in One Health (MSc One Health). The program provides graduates the background and experience to assess, investigate and manage animal health and zoonotic disease risks, to design and execute targeted research in animal health, and to manage veterinary intervention in the control and prevention of animal disease.
“I truly believe that the One Health movement is all about stepping out of our professional silos -not intending to be an expert at everything, but to be more curious and less critical of one another’s expertise and interests. I hope that each year on November 3, we will continue to come together to provide the platform to showcase the plethora of talents and initiatives that we are so passionate about,” said Dr. Katalina Zúñiga Brenes, RUSVM One Health MSc Candidate.