The Oregon International Veterinary Students’ Association’s (IVSA) first ‘One Health, One World Service’ Symposium was held April 8–April 10. The goal of the symposium was to promote the value of health professionals and students in international service, emphasizing how human and animal health are intimately connected. The symposium was an excellent opportunity for students to learn about service opportunities worldwide involving veterinary medicine and the promotion of public health.
The event began with a “Language Dinner” Friday night during which Dean Cyril Clarke began the symposium with a talk on the One World-One Medicine-One Health initiative and on preparing veterinarians for global service. During the evening, students had the opportunity to learn about the culture of several nations, including Mexico, Germany, Israel, South Africa and Brazil. Common phrases and customs were discussed with an OSU CVM community member that acted as a representative from each country.
Saturday’s events began with an eye-opening and powerful talk by Compassions Without Borders founder, Dr. Christi Camblor. The morning continued with speakers Dr. Trudy Salerno and Dr. Dave Hodgson. Both presented their experiences working in Afghanistan but from different perspectives as Dr. Salerno served as a veterinarian with the military and Dr. Hodgson was an instructor at Kabul University. Following the morning’s lectures, students participated in interactive case challenges in which they were presented with one of three real-life cases. Students learned a few basic laboratory procedures hands-on and in some cases even performed rectal palpations on cattle and necropsies on chickens. Leslie Nies (2013) commented that the interactive case challenge was both awesome and helpful, noting that the faculty who volunteered their time and expertise helped make the experience a valuable one. The day concluded with IVSA’s annual International Food Fest, which featured homemade international dishes prepared by IVSA members and live music, including special appearances by several of the CVM’s own talent.
The symposium concluded Sunday with talks by Dr. Richard Bachman, a California shelter vet who has traveled to Nicaragua with the IVSA team the past two years, and Dr. Thomas W. Graham, CEO of Veterinarians Without Borders. Dr. Bachman shared his experiences working in shelters in India and Romania. He encouraged those with the desire to volunteer abroad to always be willing to listen, learn, and teach, while remaining open to new or unique ways of doing things. Dr. Graham spoke about his organization which aims to address livestock health and food safety in post-conflict areas such as Liberia.
Several of OSU CVM’s own faculty also spoke at the symposium. Dr. Helio de Morais spoke on immunocompromised people and their pets. Dr. Luiz Bermudez spoke on his experiences in hospitals in Ghana, while Dr. Brianna Beechler spoke on her research experience examining disease interactions in African buffalo in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
IVSA would like to thank all of the students, faculty, staff, speakers and guests who contributed to the success of this year’s symposium. The event proved to be a valuable combination of lessons in humility, messages of hope and thought-provoking commentary. Many students left feeling a sense of duty and powerful motivation to continue on the path to international veterinary service work. “It was really cool to hear about everything from improving shelters and euthanasia practices in Mexico to the opportunities for vets within the military and the Peace Corps. It was amazing to see the common threads that tie all of these different experiences together, and it really sparked my desire to perform international veterinary medicine after I graduate,” said Lauren Salgo of the Class of 2013.