Students collaborate for healthier populations

Twenty graduate students and early career professionals from UC campuses and international partners completed the inaugural Rx One Health course earlier this summer in East Africa.

The Rx One Health course brought together students, faculty and stakeholders interested in finding solutions to complex issues related to planetary health, public health and local livelihoods. Participants were “mentored and guided through how to make the most of opportunities, to work with local communities and organizations and to think globally and act locally,” said Woutrina Smith, DMV, PhD, co-director of the UC Global Health Institute (UCGHI) Planetary Health Center of Expertise. The growing field of Planetary Health tackles issues that affect human, animal and plant populations and develops solutions that result in a healthy planet supporting healthy lives.

The UC Davis One Health Institute, in collaboration with the Planetary Health Center of Expertise, launched the four-week, immersive course. The program took place at universities and field sites in Tanzania and Rwanda, and participants came from UC Davis, UCLA and other US universities as well as from Tanzania, Rwanda, Senegal, Nepal and Denmark.

Whether learning about food safety and security issues or exploring the pros and cons of communities transitioning from poaching to ecotourism to support conservation, “the enthusiasm was high to understand how things work ‘on the ground’ and how sustainable change can be made,” said Smith.

After a successful first year, the program is expected to continue for years to come, according to Smith.