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Student-led One Health Symposium tackles humanity’s shared health threats

The Veterinary One Health Association (VOHA) at Cornell hosted its annual symposium this weekend, Sept. 24 and 25. The two-day virtual event featured guest speakers, special lectures and a virtual poster session, all covering One Health issues — the concept that the health of our planet, animals and humans are inextricably linked.

The two symposium themes were “Animals Improving Human Health” and “One Health Many Ecosystems.”

“The One Health Symposium provides a unique opportunity for students and professionals from all backgrounds and disciplines to come together in the hopes of sharing findings and solutions to further the One Health mission,” said Kaylee Montney, D.V.M. ’24, vice president of VOHA, a student organization at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

The two symposium themes were “Animals Improving Human Health” and “One Health Many Ecosystems.” Ten students from across the U.S. presented their posters, and more than 140 people from Cornell, national and international groups attended the symposium overall.

Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the CDC’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases and a captain in the United States Public Health Service, gave the symposium’s George C. Poppensiek Lecture in Global Animal Health, entitled, “One Health: The Power of Collaboration to Effectively Address Shared Health Threats.” This special lecture is named in honor of the late Dr. George Poppensiek, M.S. ’51, emeritus dean of CVM (1959-1974) noted for his combined canine infectious hepatitis and distemper vaccine.

Other speakers included:

  • Dr. Justin Brown, assistant teaching professor in veterinary and biomedical sciences at Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Bernadette Dunham, professorial lecturer at the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University
  • Dr. Laura Kahn, research scholar with the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University
  • Dr. Laurie Marker, executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and A.D. White Professor at Large at Cornell

“We are proud of how the event came together and that we were able to provide a space for these important discussions,” Montney said.

Dr. Alexander Travis, professor of reproductive biology and director of Cornell’s Master of Public Health Program, is VOHA’S faculty advisor. Eleni Casseri, D.V.M. ’24, is president; Claire DiLeo, D.V.M. ’24, is symposium public relations chair; Ashley Gao, D.V.M. ’24, is symposium logistics chair; Daniela Hojda, D.V.M. ’24, is symposium speaker chair; Sadie Hubler, D.V.M. ’24, is symposium fundraising chair; Morgan Hulbert, D.V.M. ’24, is secretary; Kaylee Montney, D.V.M. ’24, is vice president; and Cionna Rosenthal, D.V.M. ’24, is treasurer.

The One Health Symposium was sponsored by Hill’s Pet Food, IDEXX Laboratories and Embark.

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