CSU and partners create One Health summer research program for veterinary medical students

The One Health summer program for veterinary medical students meeting online.

The term “One Health” embodies teamwork and collaboration to solve complex and interdependent problems affecting people, animals, and the environment.

Accordingly, despite the current world pandemic, motivated faculty and staff from Colorado State University and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks came together to develop a One Health summer program for veterinary medical students.

Teamwork to solve complex problems

With generous sponsorship from CSU’s One Health Institute, PetSmart Charities, and the Veterinary Summer Scholars Program, 12 veterinary students were selected to work on One Health projects in one of three impactful areas: climate change, inclusive health collaborative, and COVID-19.

The Climate Change Team will be evaluating the effects of climate change, air pollution, and water quality on animal populations as well as developing resources for veterinary medical professionals on climate change and sustainable medical practices. The team includes professional veterinary medicine students Bonni Beaupied, Brian M. DeFilippo, Maria Koytcheva, Jon Maxwell, Josh Moore, and Leah Sauerwein.

The Inclusive Health Collaborative is an interdisciplinary program supporting health care for people experiencing homelessness with their pets. For their summer projects, the team will be looking into available resources locally and nationally, resource gaps locally, and exploring ways to connect people with these resources. The team includes PVM students Sarah Deluty and Isabella Mazariegos.

The COVID-19 Team will investigate how the SARS-CoV2 pandemic has impacted veterinary medical education, access to veterinary care for companion animals, and the use of telemedicine in veterinary medicine. The team includes PVM students Zack George, Kate McCaw, Sage Smith, and Rachel Wertheimer.

The eight-week summer program — designed by Colleen Duncan, associate professor in the Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology Department, and Danielle Frey, director of International Student Experiences for D.V.M. students — involves virtual meetings with mentors as well as educational meetings to help ensure student support and success.

Unprecedented times create opportunity for exploration

A few of the One Health Summer Program students shared their experiences in the program so far.

“Working with such a motivated and ambitious team, even remotely, has been a great experience in these uncertain and unprecedented times. With everyone using the same interface and being able to connect so quickly through Microsoft Teams, the ability to reach out, network, and bounce ideas off each other has not been inhibited by this remote setting, which has proven to be very conducive to collaboration. I look forward to continuing this project, working with faculty and my fellow veterinary students, and seeing what all of the dedicated research yields.”

— Sage Smith, third-year PVM student

“The One Health Institute and partners have used these unprecedented times as an opportunity for exploration and problem-solving. They have brought together a dynamic and motivated group of students with whom I am grateful to be able to collaborate remotely.”

— Kate McKaw, third-year PVM student

One Health Institute

The One Health Institute benefits the health of animals, peoples, and environments by collaborating across boundaries in a way that sees and integrates the whole system. CSU’s One Health Institute began in 2015 and is housed within the Office of the Vice President for Research.