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Texas A&M One Health Initiative Contributes to the 50th Anniversary AAVMC Conference

Posted April 26, 2016

Today, many leaders in science and medicine have adopted a One Health approach to global wellbeing. One of these leaders is the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), which held its annual conference and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in Washington D.C., March 4-6, 2016. The Texas A&M One Health Initiative contributed three presentations at this conference.

Dr. Rosina “Tammi” Krecek, interim assistant dean of the Texas A&M One Health Initiative, presented “Building One Health Research at Texas A&M: A Successful Model,” which focused on successes of research, education, and service programs of the Texas A&M One Health Initiative. One research-related success discussed was the noted productivity from five principal investigators (PIs), who were awarded Grand Challenge One Health Research seed grants from 2014-2015. The criteria used to award these projects were that the research was transformative, interdisciplinary and had a One Health approach.  The PIs included:

  • Tom Welsh (CVM and COALS) working on reducing stress and obesity
  • Sarah Hamer (College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences [CVM]) studying Chagas Disease
  • Suresh Pillai (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences [COALS]) using electron beam technology to create safer water, food, and environments
  • Arum Han (Texas A&M College of Engineering) studying “organ on a chip”
  • Sarah Lawhon (CVM) investigating antimicrobial resistance

In just a year, these interdisciplinary collaborative research teams included over 70 collaborators and engaged 70 students. Other research metrics were the extensive numbers of grants submitted and awarded as well as as service activities. PIs used the seed money in a number of ways, including proof of concept results, which led to submission of successful grant applications; expansion of research trials into high-risk geographical communities; and funding and hosting a university-wide symposium with 50 student and 15 faculty presentations of research findings generated during the funding year, as well as bringing a prominent and renowned speaker to address the evening session.

The two posters presented at the AAVMC conference highlighted the Texas A&M One Health Initiative International Experience in Nicaragua during summer of 2015. These posters were titled “A Survey Analysis of Human and Public Health Disparities on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua” and “Students’ Perspective of One Heath Interprofessional Collaboration in Ometepe, Nicaragua.” This team was composed of professional and graduate students from four Texas A&M colleges and schools, University of Tennessee, and staff from the One Health Program: Chelsea Stewart (College of Medicine (COM)), Christina Babu (COM), Jade Haberman (CVM), Michelle Kurkowski (CVM), Benton Harvey (University of Tennessee CVM and School of Public Health (SPH)), Valery Roman-Cruz (SPH) and Merrideth Holub (COALS, CVM).

The impact and success of the Texas A&M One Health Initiative is attributed to the interdisciplinary nature of productive researchers and educators who work widely across the university, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

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