One Health Week: A global movement

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This first week of November celebrates Día de los Muertos, the Anniversary of the Revolution in Algeria, Karch Kiraly’s birthday and the celebration of One Health Week on the University of Connecticut’s campus. One Health Week 2021 is hosted by the organization Students for One Health (SOH) and is in the third annual stretch of days devoted to events on the One Health movement. 

The Daily Campus was lucky enough to speak with the co-directors of One Health Week 2021 Salma Gudaf and Emma Paynter via email. 

“One Health is the connection between human, animal and environmental health,” Paynter explained. “One Health Week aims to celebrate, educate and look introspectively at our impact on the world and show how interdisciplinary our goals are.” 

“I think that One Health is a way to get everyone to realize that no matter how specified their discipline, they share a connection to seemingly unassociated professions,” Gudaf elucidated. “We all inhabit a shared planet along with various species of animals. We are in close proximity to each other and yet exist in isolation. If we were to come together about common issues, we could draw solutions with less resource utilization and more benefits.” 

The One Health movement on campus began back in fall of 2019, inspired by a foreign excursion. 

“One Health initiatives at UConn began with our faculty advisor, Dr. Sandra Bushmich, along with several passionate students who embarked on a trip to Ireland,” Gudaf detailed. “Whilst there, they utilized the One Health approach to analyze the aquaculture and dairy industry in both the U.S. and Ireland. They also compared the policies promoted by both countries by looking through a One Health lens…. After compiling a list of interested students and ideas of how to incorporate everything that was learned on both the trip and course, Students for One Health was officially approved as a club.” 

Globally, the movement began to gain traction in the late 2000s, but was discussed in the scientific community since the mid-20th century. 

“One Health has extended worldwide as an effort to mitigate resultant changes in how we live, ” Gudaf elaborated. “We are now seeing tangible disturbances in habitats that are producing climate refugees, emerging zoonotic diseases and rising public health crises. Because everyone in the world will feel the negative effects of minimal communication and ineffective problem solving, One Health is promoted on a global level.” 

This week, Students for One Health is hosting a multitude of events in celebration of One Health Week. 

Today from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams, there will be a Clean Water Initiative Seminar featuring Nathaniel Paynter, an international development consultant. 

On Thursday, Students for One Health are hosting two virtual events: a Nutritional Management Lecture from 6:30 to 7 p.m. and an Epidemiology Lecture from 7 to 7:30 p.m.  

Lastly, this Friday from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. in room 312 of the Student Union, Students for One Health are partnering with Knit for NICU for a One Health discussion and knitting night.  

More information on these events, including links for virtual events, can be found via the Students for One Health website

To get involved with One Health on campus, students can follow the Students for One Health @uconnonehealth and email uconnsoh@gmail.com to join their email list. 

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