Students in the Allen School are learning about current global animal health challenges in a new graduate course titled "Animal Human Disease Interface." As part of the Global Animal Health Pathway Program, this class gives students the opportunity to tackle real-world issues about the human health and socioeconomic impacts of animal disease. Rabies vaccination programs in dogs, for instance, can save children's lives in rural African villages, but resource availability can have a great impact on their success.
"We encourage students to think about the challenges and possible solutions for intervention programs," said Dr. Petronella Hove, currently a doctoral candidate in the Allen School and one of the co-organizers of the class. "Something as seemingly simple as having enough personnel and resources to administer rabies vaccinations, can greatly affect the spread of disease."
One of the most important aspects of this class is to get students to think globally. Faculty who have experience working in the field use case studies to teach students about how animal management practices affect the spread and emergence of disease, the effects of disease on trade and economics, food security, and how international organizations' policies can impact global animal health.
Students learn from real-life case studies such as mass animal rabies vaccinations campaigns, detection of antimicrobial resistance and family economic health studies in East Africa, which are providing solutions to health challenges and changing lives.The course is discussion based, and encourages active student participation.
The Pathway Program was created to educate veterinary students about the critical role that animal health has in global health, economic disparities, and the impact of disease control at the animal-human interface. The program is currently seeking certificate status with the WSU Faculty Senate.
"Global health is a field with growing interest," said Dr. Terry McElwain, Allen School professor and associate director. "Having a certificate in addition to the DVM should help them have a leg up for jobs or a graduate program after they complete their DVM education."
The class is currently led by doctoral candidates, Petronella Hove, DVM, MPH and Allison Eavey James, DVM, MPH.
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