A University initiative to tackle global health issues is bringing together students and academics from across the world.
The Global Health Academy initiative on One Health aims to create better links between human health, animal health and the environments in which they live, allowing expertise to be shared more effectively.
Working together could help researchers prevent the spread of infectious diseases that affect humans and animals, such as influenzas.
Improving animal production through better health also has benefits for human health and well-being in rural areas.
One Health offers a great shift in our approach towards emerging, zoonotic and neglected diseases, and is essential to meet 21st century challenges arising from globalisation, climate change, food security and population growth.
Director of the Global Health Academy
In September, students from 15 countries attended a One Health Summer School in Laos, led by the University and supported by the European Union and the Global Health and Security Initiative. The students all study online topics related to One Health issues.
An academic workshop - bringing together physicians, veterinarians, biologists and other scientists to exchange knowledge on One Health issues - also took place in the Southeast Asian country, building on previous gatherings that have taken place in Africa and the region.
Students advanced their understanding of the health risks that can arise from humans and animals living in closely-knit environments, and how best to combat these.
One teacher on the course is Dr Alain Vandersmissen, Senior Coordinator on Influenza, One Health and Emerging Diseases at the Asia Department of the Brussels-based European External Action Service.
Working with this international group of students, who are the experts of tomorrow, really underlines the power of a collaborative approach to health hazards. I am delighted to see how students are enthusiastic about this new vision of health.
Dr Alain Vandersmissen
European External Action Service
The Global Health Academy offers a range of online distance learning programmes across One Health.
In addition, a new one year full time residential MSc in One Health, launched in 2011, is offered.
Taught by world-leading scientists, these courses collectively aim to build a community of practice of One Health scholars.
This enables students to study issues highly relevant to both human, animal and ecosystem health and helps to develop the next generation of leaders in global healthcare.
This article was published on Sep 16, 2011