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Theodora Yao

On February 18, 2022, the 13th UC Davis Education Conference on One Health for Food Safety, Agriculture and Animal Health concluded. Dr. Osburn delivered his closing remarks, recognizing the participation of all the colleges and the efforts made by all the conference coordinators. Certificates were issued to all the participants, guest speakers, team facilitators, and our wonderful volunteers.

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Connecting the Dots and Raising Awareness

Through the One Health interdisciplinary education, in which illustrations and case demonstrations are provided to an audience pursuing multiple disciplines, such as virology, veterinary medicine, public health, agricultural engineering, and soil science, we connect the dots between the complex health issues at the interface of people, plants, animals, and the environment.

During the afternoon session, One Health International Young Scholars Forum, specific One Health issues, including antimicrobial resistance (AMR), foodborne illness, and zoonotic diseases, were discussed. Faculty and graduate students from 10 universities delivered their own research on these three issues.

“Before the conference, most of what I learned about One Health was limited to the field of veterinary medicine, but now I have a better understanding of the many more research areas involved in One Health, which has broadened my perspective,” said Li Chen (Harper), an undergraduate student from the College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University.

Yi Yin, a postgraduate student from Yangzhou University, delivered her own academic report, Prevalence Characteristics and Transmission Mechanism of Multidrug – resistant Plasmids in the Live Poultry Market, at the forum session.

Ms. Yi Yin gave her report on AMR study

AMR-related lectures given by the professors also inspired her a lot. She said: “Through these days of learning, my strongest feeling is that initiative is rewarding. Only by taking the initiative to communicate with the team and teachers can I get progress, and only by doing so can I be more motivated to enrich myself in the future.” As for the most impressive lecturer for her, she admired Dr. Yang Wang, a professor from College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University. “I was most impressed by Prof. Wang Yang’s lecture on AMR. The rich amount of data, the succinct layout of the slides, the clear and logical English speech, and the humorous and relaxed atmosphere of the lecture–all of these are our examples to learn from!”

Dr. Yang Wang delivered his lecture—Challenges, landscape, and outlook for antimicrobial resistance in the future

Problem-based Learning

Before the conference, all the student-participants were assigned a One Health topic, on which they were asked to give a group report on the final day of the conference, with related study materials. They were invited to read the materials first then list their questions so that they could bring the questions to our excellent speakers after their lectures. A lot of speakers, such as Mr. David Goldenberg, were trying to conduct problem-based learning with real-life cases during their presentations, too. Mr. Goldenberg, whose topic was From Farm to Table Identifying Potential Pathogen Outbreaks Along the Food Chain, set a specific circumstance for the audience in his presentation, guiding them to find out the potential resources of food contamination. Through this activity, for the first time, Ms. Yi Wu (Ginny), a senior student from Sichuan Agricultural University, realized that it is quite difficult to figure out what may cause the contamination, and sometimes it is even impossible to trace the pathogen at all.

Mr. David Goldenberg explained how to trace potential pathogens causing foodborne illness

Interactive Teamwork with Challenges and Fun

During the conference, each group conducted five team discussions to finish their individual or team tasks which consist of essay writing, poster making, interview, and presentation preparing. Encountered with the barriers of language and culture difference, all the teams still exerted all their energy to accomplish their tasks with patience, instruction, and encouragement given by their team facilitators from UC Davis. All the team facilitators were interviewed by their team members at the fourth team discussion. Ideas were exchanged and friendships were made during the whole process. We saw a group of young people who never shrink from difficulty, who are eager for new knowledge and communication, and who are the hope of a better world.

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Mr. Chenzheng Wang, a PhD student from South China Agricultural University, bravely took the role of the chairperson of his team. The topic assigned to his team is AMR which is the same with his research focus, so he tried his best to assist the other team members with the preparation of their final presentation.

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Ms. Qing Yang, studying Plant Protection at Anhui Agricultural University, provided this testimonial, “This session makes us feel more involved and think more about this conference, which is nice. I was afraid to talk at first, but with the influence of my team members and the encouragement and patience of the facilitator, I gradually became more and more involved in and excited about this part. It’s terrific to finish a big report task step by step through each small and detailed discussion. Cooperation do make us more united.”

Xinyi Zheng, a senior student majoring in Animal Science from Huazhong Agricultural University had this to say about the experience she had during team discussion and teamwork activities, “The group discussions and collaborations were fantastic! It made me feel very involved and to be honest it was really my favorite part. I learned a lot from the team members and our facilitator June. For example, I saw that some team members were challenging themselves, overcoming their fears of public speaking, and preparing their speech diligently, which motivated me to be enthusiastic and keep providing new ideas and suggestions, and to be a good back-up.”

Time to Take Action

On the final day, all the teams delivered their final reports on the topic they were given before. They illustrated the connection between their topics and One Health, demonstrated related data and cases, and illustrated what disciplines should be included to solve the problem and what actions they can take. Undergraduate Team 3, Node, gave a detailed explanation about the roles that veterinarians, environmental scientists, media workers, epidemiologists, government and quarantine officers should play in the prevention and treatment of Toxoplasmosis. Graduate Team 2, the Lakeside Guardians, brought up both short-term and long-term solutions for curing and preventing Brucellosis from interdisciplinary perspective.

Zehou Liao (Levi), the speaker of Team Node, gave the final report
Zhaoxiang Lu (Peter), from Team the Lakeside Guardians, gave the final report

This is not just a group presentation task. This is the very first step for the participants to start thinking about what exactly people should do to deal with One Health problems.

This inspires them to realize that every individual counts when it comes to addressing future challenges for the health of people, animals, and the environment and calls to actions, even taking a small step in their daily life. Changes were made. The seeds of One Health were planted. Let’s wait for them to grow up mighty trees.

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