One Health model at University of Saskatchewan (Canada) trains future public health leaders
At the University of Saskatchewan (http://www.usask.ca/) in Western Canada, the One Health model is transforming the way health science disciplines are taught. Students from across the health, environmental and policy sciences are now studying and working together to address problems in disease mitigation.
An integrated training program taught by experts in human, animal and environmental sciences will train 75 graduate students over eight years to deal with complex One Health challenges in areas such as infectious disease, food safety and public policy.
“Through this program, we use integrated, experiential learning to train students in multiple disciplines so they can use their diverse knowledge to be creative in solving public health and food safety issues,” said Baljit Singh, associate dean of research at the university’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine. “We’ve also developed a new set of courses that encourages students to think more globally when they tackle their own research projects.”
The U of S is collaborating with the Free University of Berlin and the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVAS) in Punjab, India, so graduates of the program will be exposed to international research environments.
Established in 2012 with a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Professors-Professeurs/Grants-Subs/CREATE-FONCER_eng.asp) program addresses the private and public sectors’ urgent need for highly qualified personnel skilled in combating and managing complex public health threats such as emerging zoonotic diseases (transmissible between animals and humans) and food-borne pathogens.
Student and faculty interest is high in this emerging interdisciplinary domain. Problem-based learning modules and One Health certificate programs are being developed at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
One Health has been identified as “signature area” of research at the University of Saskatchewan. Four priority research themes have been identified: food safety; water and health; infectious diseases shared by animals and humans; and One Health community needs and services.
The university has a full complement of health science disciplines, including veterinary medicine, graduate schools of public health, public policy and the environment and sustainability. It is home to world-class research centers and facilities such as the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO InterVac), the Canadian Center for Health and Safety in Agriculture, the Toxicology Centre, the Global Institute for Water Security, the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, and the Global Institute for Food Security.
The university is currently applying for federal funding for a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Integrated Infectious Disease Mitigation, and a Network of Centers of Excellence research program in One Health.
More information is available at:
Bruce Reeder, MD, DTM&H, MHSc, FRCPC
University of Saskatchewan
Community Health and Epidemiology
College of Medicine