Vet Futures students’ rallying call for One Health Week

Ginnie Baker is a third-year student at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. With a love of the outdoors and all things furry, she believes the future of the veterinary profession is entwined with human health and that of the environment around us. Ginnie is part of the Vet Futures Student Ambassadors’ team focusing on One Health.

Only three years ago, I remember chatting in my interviews about my love of One Health and my interests in zoonotics that had driven me to apply to vet school earlier in the year. Reading ‘Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic’ by David Quammen left me dreaming of investigating an emerging infectious disease in the Congo and working with doctors and epidemiologists to stop a pandemic in its tracks.

Fast forward to now: when given the opportunity to plan a national project on the One Health topic, I leapt at the chance to get involved. After drafting together some of key ideas at our Vet Futures Student Ambassador training day in October 2017, a small group of One Health enthusiasts developed a plan for One Heath Week. Our plan is to get students everywhere talking about the links between animal, human and environmental health and how we can work together to improve the lives of all things bright and beautiful.

The national One Health Week will run from 28 October to 2 November 2018 to coincide with international One Health Day on 3 November. We want to run a series of events at each of the veterinary schools to get people thinking about One Health in a fun and interactive way.

In April we started our recruitment from each of the vet schools where we are looking for committee members to help us make One Health week a success at each of the schools. Our original One Health focus group is made up of only five members at only four of the UK vet schools so we need extra help on the ground to make the week happen.

Each of the university committees will be responsible for enabling the running of a minimum number of activities at each of the schools so all students, ideally not just vets, will get a chance to take part. There will be a poster competition being launched in late May and later a photo competition centred around the theme of One Health with prizes to encourage as many people to enter as possible.

We want to get students thinking outside of their curriculum about the importance of Global Health, from using less plastic to help environmental and marine health, to the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical patents. Many of these subjects aren’t covered in our day-to-day lectures, but they matter and the world needs veterinary surgeons’ problem-solving skills to combat problems affecting the health of everyone and everything.

To get involved, please like our Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled for updates on the week. We’d love for as many people as possible to get involved so drop us an email via onehealthstudentvetfutures@gmail.com.

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