Campus News

UGA, University of Liverpool to team up for international One Health Symposium

Guy Palmer

UGA’s Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and its Faculty of Infectious Diseases along with the University of Liverpool will host the first international One Health Symposium March 21-23 at the Georgia Center.

The symposium will bring together researchers, human and animal health care practitioners, clinicians and experts in microbiology, infectious diseases, disease ecology, human and veterinary medicine, environmental health, public health, health policy and wildlife.

They will discuss disease diagnosis and health practice through the lens of “One Health,” a multidisciplinary approach to studying and understanding health issues at the nexus of human, animal and environmental health.

“The advantage of One Health is that it offers a departure from the current emphasis on the clinical care of individual patients-both in human and veterinary medicine-to one of disease prevention and health promotion at a globally holistic level,” said Susan Sanchez, professor of infectious diseases in UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine and BHSI assistant director.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Breaking Barriers and Crossing Scales.” Session topics will focus on the microbiome, host-pathogen-host interactions and biodiversity and infection.

“The main issue we are trying to address is that infectious diseases are not a problem that can be dealt with in isolation,” said Duncan Krause, director of the Faculty of Infectious Diseases and symposium co-organizer. “For example, influenza is a disease of humans, birds and swine. Controlling the flu requires cooperation across the spectrum-from poultry and swine producers to vaccine manufacturers and even to businesses that now encourage patrons, as well as workers, to use hand-sanitizing agents.”

The featured keynote speakers are Guy Palmer, director of the School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University; Matthew Bonds, an economist in the global health and social medicine department at Harvard Medical School; and Ralph Tripp, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and influenza expert in the UGA veterinary medicine college.

In the past five years, UGA has added the Odum School of Ecology, the College of Public Health and a Health Sciences Campus to an already powerful basic research enterprise, which includes the colleges of veterinary medicine and pharmacy, Sanchez said.

“With its established strengths and the cross-disciplinary research already under way, UGA is extremely well positioned to embrace One Health as an integral part of its research, teaching and outreach mission,” she said.

Sanchez’s hope is that the symposium will bring attention to the efforts of One Health @ UGA, a new initiative aimed at increasing public awareness and facilitating One Health opportunities at UGA. The program is based in the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute’s Division of One Health, where Sanchez serves as chairwoman.

The event also highlights the University of Liverpool as a close partner in UGA’s One Health efforts.

“Due largely to the efforts of David Lee, vice president for research, and Jane Gatewood, director of international partnerships in the UGA Office of International Education, the partnership already has transitioned from informal discussions to developing and streamlining processes needed to simplify student exchanges and promote research collaborations,” Sanchez said.

Additional sponsors include Vet Heart of Georgia and the Georgia Oceans and Human Health Initiative and, at UGA, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the Institute of Bioinformatics, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and its cellular biology, marine sciences and microbiology departments, the College of Veterinary Medicine and its infectious diseases and population health departments and the epidemiology and biostatistics department in the College of Public Health.

Abstracts are being accepted for poster presentations. Students and postdoctoral scholars are invited to compete for best poster awards. CEU credits also will be available for health care practitioners and clinicians.