Students for One Health Win Big at AAVMC Conference

Four poster awards were given by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges at their annual Conference on One Health this March. Of those four total awards, three went to students from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Fiona with Poster

Fiona Witton, Joelle Sweeney and Ryen Morey, all of whom are leaders in the Students for One Health at UC Davis, were honored at the conference for their work.

Whitton's poster looked at the One Health Nicaragua project, which she helped launch and grow for several years. Sweeney's looked at the Knight's Landing One Health Clinic, which works with humans and animals in a rural California town with the goal of creating a healthier community. Morey's project compared the preference of fresh milk versus powdered milk in Sri Lankan consumers and tied that into microbiological counts in the fresh milk samples. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of our students,” said Jonna Mazet, Director of the UC Davis One Heath Institute. “They wonderfully exhibited how effective the One Health approach can be in the educational environment.”

Learn more about each student’s project in their posters below:

Fiona Whitton (View Poster)
"Over the past few years I've had the chance to develop the One Health Nicaragua project from the ground up with an incredible team of students, faculty and Nicaraguan partners. It is a student run initiative that aims to encourage graduate and professional students to take ownership over their education, and get on-the-ground Global Health and community development experience that isn't offered in most traditional curricula. By addressing health concerns from a holistic, ecosystem wide approach and by utilizing education and preventative care as our primary interventions, we are hoping to build a project that stresses sustainability and continuity. My experience working on this project has been the most challenging and the most rewarding experience of my professional education. I am excited to see what the future holds for this initiative as we pass it off to another group of incredible students!"

Joelle with Poster

Joelle Sweeney (View Poster)
"We were approached with the challenge of piloting different approaches on how veterinarians and human physicians can communicate and collaborate to benefit the health of a community. In response, our team developed a ‘One Health Clinic’ to address this very challenge. Based on community needs, the students of UC Davis Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine established a monthly human wellness and animal wellness clinic, held simultaneously in different buildings. The medical and veterinary teams conduct joint rounds after clinic hours, fostering open communication to develop this One Health Clinic model.

This gathers both veterinary and human medical teams together at the end of the clinic day to discuss a pre-selected topic, or cases of interest. Preparing for these rounds includes prior reading of journal articles on the subject matter, or questions to ask during history-taking at the clinical visit. Topics discussed so far included the application of the One Health approach, leptospirosis (its lifecycle, transmission, and prevention), and food-storage. Both teams participate, each giving their own perspectives of the topic, as well as clinical applications when it applies. This open forum provides a training ground for health students and professionals to broaden their skills as doctors. Zoonotic diseases, environmental exposures, and daily life-style habits are just a few of the topics that are discussed at these joint rounds. In the event a sentinel incident occurs in a clinical case, our continuing communication will increase our awareness of an environmental or cross-species disease risk."

Ryen with Poster

Ryen Morey (View Poster)
"My summer experience took me to Sri Lanka to work on a STAR project at the University of Peradeniya near the city of Kandy. My goal was to assess the preference of fresh milk versus powdered milk in Sri Lankan consumers and tie that into microbiological counts in the fresh milk samples. It served as an excellent model for creating joint projects by pairing a local university (UC Davis) and a university abroad (University of Peradeniya).

I was able to work closely with Dr. Saumya Wickramasinghe and Ayesha Salgadu while in Sri Lanka and Dr. Woutrina Smith while here in Davis to create and implement a well put together and thought out project. Overall, it was an extremely fulfilling project and the experience of a lifetime!"


  • Fiona Whitton:
  • Joelle Sweeney:
  • Ryen Morey: