Rx One Health 2021 course photo

New Series! Student Experiences in One Health

Rx One Health Field Institute

The One Health Institute is committed to educating and training professionals in the One Health approach. In addition to graduate and post-graduate studies, some of our programs include the global One Health Workforce – Next Generation project, the annual One Health Symposium (join us this November 6th!), Students for One Health, the Calvin Schwabe Lectureship and multiple fellowship opportunities. The new Student Experiences in One Health blog series will bring you first-hand student accounts, share stories from the field and provide overviews and announcements of programs, projects, and opportunities.

We launch our series with an overview of the 2021 Rx One Health Field Institute with an introductory post from the Rx One Health Field Institute Director, Jennie Lane, DVM, MPH. 

Spotlight: Rx One Health Field Institute

By Jennie Lane, Rx One Health Field Institute Director

Global health careers demand effective problem-solving skills, cross-disciplinary collaboration and solid foundations in field and laboratory work. Building on the legacy of the Envirovet program, the One Health Institute created and leads the Rx One Health Field Institute, a multi-week immersive program that develops participants’ skills for tackling global health challenges through hands-on, practical learning experiences, case studies, lectures, group discussions, and field exercises.

Rx One Health students in PPE
Rx One Health 2021 cohort participating in the "PPE Olympics" exercise (photo: Eunah Preston/One Health Institute)

Since its inception in 2017, topics have explored disease transmission, epidemiology, biological complexity, biosecurity, food safety and security and ecosystem dynamics. Students also deepen competencies in laboratory and research methods, communications, community engagement, ethics, teamwork and leadership. The summer 2021 program was as dynamic and intense as previous years, and at their request, we have decided to highlight the stories of some of our participants by launching a series of written articles and videos created by members of the RxOH 2021 cohort. Hear their perspectives on the course including how place-based, One Health experiential education has impacted them both personally and professionally.

Rx One Health 2021: Sierra to Sea

California’s amazing biodiversity and varied ecosystems came to life this past summer when we hosted the Rx One Health Field Institute in the Golden State for the first time. Historically offered in Tanzania and Rwanda, the experiential field institute relocated to California in 2021 as a result of travel restrictions that came about during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it has been a long-time dream of mine to offer the course in the One Health Institute’s ‘backyard.’ In changing the venue to California, we were able to explore new dynamic landscapes and build valuable new partnerships in the process! This year we hosted 22 participants representing 8 different disciplines and 3 nationalities.

PPE olympics exercise
2021 course instructor Brooke Genovese leading a station exercise in the "PPE Olympics" (photo: Eunah Preston/One Health Institute)

With a theme of “Sierra to Sea,” the course kicked off at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine before moving to Malakoff Diggins State Park, in the Sierra foothills, where we camped for three nights and explored far-ranging topics such as:

  • safe and ethical wildlife disease surveillance,
  • the historical legacy of mercury contamination in the environment from gold mining and mitigation options,
  • wildlife and landscape conservation, and
  • community engagement.

Featuring multiple, impromptu bear visits at our campsite and a perfect afternoon swim in the South Yuba River, it was truly an authentic California camping experience!

From the foothills, we next traveled to Hastings Natural History Reservation, part of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System located in the Carmel River watershed. On our way there, we had the opportunity to stop and learn about health issues facing low resource communities around Stockton and San Joaquin county. Using Hastings as a home base during the second week of the course, we had the opportunities to learn from ALBA, an organization training farmworkers to be organic farmers in the Salinas Valley. We also observed One Health issues in the Elkhorn Slough and the Monterey Bay such as wastewater runoff near the slough leading to land-to-sea pathogen transmission. We also took part in a land acknowledgement ceremony led by an Esselen elder that highlighted the impacts of international trauma and demonstrated the importance of respecting historical land ownership and honoring traditional ecological knowledge.

Rx One Health course participants on the beach
Dr. Karen Shapiro, one of the guest instructors for the 2021 Rx One Health Field Institute, leading a lecture on the beach at Moss Landing, CA (photo: Eunah Preston/One Health Institute)

RxOH was also one of the inaugural recipients of the One Health Institute’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grants. Through this grant, and additional support from the UCGHI Planetary Health Center of Expertise and private donations, RxOH was able to offer scholarships to support participants from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM and refine our course content to more explicitly integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion issues across the curriculum. Through the grant, we were able to work with several new community partners including ALBA, the Sierra Fund, Latinxs and the Environment, the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, and the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with these groups, and are grateful for their participation and engagement with RxOH this year.

Stay Tuned!

Next in the series is Pallavi Oruganti, a fourth-year veterinary student at the Ohio State University. We encourage you to follow the One Health Institute on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to know when we post Pallavi’s story.

RxOH Field Institute 2022

Questions about Rx One Health Field Institute? Learn more at our website. Curious about 2022 course information? Generally, we release information about where and when the next course will take place in December - the best way to stay informed is to sign up for course updates!

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