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Comprehensive One Health Conference Bonds Universities

Chris Brunner, February 12, 2015

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Undergraduate students from Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China.

The bond between UC Davis and Nanjing Agricultural University was further strengthened when the two universities met together this winter during a three week conference. The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) hosted the NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference on One Health on the University of California, Davis campus for Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) undergraduate students who have an interest in graduate programs at UC Davis. The conference, a part of the NAU-UC Davis One Health Center for Food Safety joint program, took place between January 20 and February 6, 2015.

The educational exchange focused on graduate education and highlighted One Health which is the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment. The comprehensive program featured 41 administrators and professors from the Davis campus, including representatives from the offices of Graduate Studies and Global Affairs, the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Medicine, and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The 3-week program included lectures by leading professionals, an informative discussion with a panel of graduate students, and field trips on campus and into the Sacramento Valley and the Bay Area. Dr. Pat Conrad, Associate Dean for Global Programs for the School of Veterinary Medicine, closed the conference with a discussion of what One Health can do for China. One student commented, “21 days for One Health, …thank you so much for doing this!”

Inspired by the conference, the NAU students want to organize a Student One Health Club at NAU, as they begin to address the One Health concept in China. As faculty advisor of the UC Davis Students for One Health Club, Dr. Conrad strongly encouraged further collaboration between UC Davis and NAU students to establish a One Health Club at NAU.

This conference is part of the foundation of a 10-yr plan to have the first established academic One Health Center for Food Safety in Asia. WIFSS, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, have formed an educational exchange program with NAU directed at creating a One Health Center for Food Safety at Nanjing.

The primary focus of the Center is to build capacity for education and research expertise at NAU relative to One Health for Asia and globally. The vision of the One Health Center for Food Safety is to house multidisciplinary faculty working on a wide array of projects related to food and water safety using a One Health approach.  Research at the Center will focus on improving food safety and water quality issues all across Asia. Corresponding educational programs will promote progress toward safer, better quality food systems in China.

Dr. Bennie Osburn, Director of Outreach and Training at WIFSS, and conference facilitator, was impressed with the students’ grasp of the One Health concept and the exceptional passion they expressed about addressing the issues of importance to China and the world. He feels strongly that, “These students will make a difference for all of humanity.”

The next steps in the overall plan will include two conferences this next year focusing on integrating NAU faculty into the educational and research concepts of One Health for food safety.

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