Nearly 200 health-science students at the University of Saskatchewan will spend this weekend learning how to work together at the third annual One Health Leadership Experience, Aug. 22-24.
The three-day conference aims to introduce students from all health-science disciplines to the concept of One Health, a global initiative that encourages collaboration between health professions to attain optimal health for all people, animals and the environment.
Through small group sessions, team-building exercises and plenary lectures, the students will learn how to work collectively to address everything from food-borne illnesses and infectious disease outbreaks to mental illness and the abuse of animals and people.
“One Health is the perfect opportunity for students with different science backgrounds to come together, teach one another and learn new ways to address global health issues,“ said Dr. Douglas Freeman, lead organizer for the conference and dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
“The concept of One Health is critical, and we need it now more than ever. With zoonotic and food-borne diseases becoming more common, we need to unite health-care professionals – for the good of people, animals and the environment,” said Freeman, who has invited five high-profile speakers with One Health expertise to meet and interact with students.
One of the conference’s keynote speakers is Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a cardiologist at the University of California (Los Angeles) and co-author of Zoobiquity, a New York Times bestseller that explores the connections between animal and human health. She believes that connecting students, faculty and clinicians from diverse backgrounds will benefit all health-care practitioners and will allow them to have a more comparative and holistic perspective when treating their patients.
“I definitely think I’ve become a better physician and teacher of medical students, having spent time with veterinarians and learning about other species,” said Natterson-Horowitz.
Other speakers include Dr. Gregory Gray of Duke Global Health Institute, Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Kate Hodgson of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and Dr. Colleen Dell, U of S Research Chair in Substance Abuse.
Supported by the WCVM, Zoetis Canada and the U of S Council of Health Science Deans, conference participants include students from medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nutrition, kinesiology, public health, physical therapy, nursing and veterinary medicine. Social work students from the University of Regina are also attending the conference.
One Health is a signature research area at the U of S, the only university in Canada with a full range of health science colleges and schools on one campus.
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University of Saskatchewan