One Health mini-symposium to focus on climate change, infectious disease

On April 3, experts from the University of Georgia, Emory University and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom will spend the afternoon sharing their One Healthperspectives on how a changing climate might impact the incidence of infectious diseases in both people and animals around the globe.

The concept “One World, One Health”describes the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health.

The mini-symposium on “Climate Change and Environmental Health: Shifting Tides in Disease Emergence?” will take place from 1-5 p.m. in room 175 of the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences on UGA’s South Campus.

“Climate change may be a fact, but its influence on the range and distribution of infectious diseases and host populations, as well as changes in complex ecosystems and the environment, aren’t well understood,” said Susan Sanchez, professor of infectious diseases in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and an assistant director of the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute.

In the last decade, One Health has gained new momentum among medical professionals—both human and veterinary as well as scientists—Sanchez said, particularly in the face of emerging infectious diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile virus and enteric pathogens.

“UGA has robust expertise in many of the disciplines needed to prepare and respond to the infectious disease challenges the speaker’s will address, particularly from a One Health outlook,” Sanchez said. She co-organized the event with Duncan Krause, director of the UGA Faculty of Infectious Diseases, as part of her leadership project for the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program.

“This fellowship program has been instrumental in networking me with people and ideas that have helped shape what I hope will be a campus-wide initiative aimed at promoting the One Health concept at UGA,” Sanchez said. “This mini-symposium will initiate the conversations necessary to move forward and to lay the groundwork for an international symposium on One Health at UGA in 2013.”

Speakers at the One Health mini-symposium are Karen Levy, assistant professor of environment health and epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; Erin Lipp, associate professor of environmental health sciences, College of Public Health, UGA; and Matthew Baylis, professor of epidemiology and population health, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liverpool.

Sponsors include the UGA Faculty of Infectious Diseases, the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute, the Georgia Oceans and Health Initiative, the University of Liverpool and the British Consulate-General in Atlanta.

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– Rebecca Ayer

Posted March 26, 2012.