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UC Davis Students for One Health and University of Rwanda Host International One Health Conference for Students

April 9, 2015

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UC Davis students virtually connect with students at University of Rwanda to discuss One Health.

March 2015

By Samantha Lawton, Class of 2017

Late at night in California, UC Davis students crowded around a web camera to share a conversation with their colleagues at the University of Rwanda. Students for One Health at UC Davis and the blossoming One Health club at the University of Rwanda organized an internet-based conference to discuss One Health— the concept that human, animal and environmental health are interconnected and that multiple disciplines need to work together to address health problems.

Topics covered at the conference included a discussion of how One Health can help us in the future, how One Health is integrated into the curriculum at both schools, and how student-run projects can make a difference in local and international communities. Each presentation was followed by fantastic questions on both sides and eager exchanges of ideas for improvement and growth.

Both sides had a great turnout, with over 50 students participating in total. The University of Rwanda had veterinary, agriculture, medical and business students in attendance. UC Davis had medical and veterinary students. We hope to be able to build on our colleagues’ inspiration and reach out to more disciplines at UC Davis. Global health issues are multifaceted and require a diverse team— we want to involve as many groups as possible!

This conference was a unique collaboration between students on two sides of the globe, made possible by ever-improving communication technology. One of the best memories from the night was when both teams crowded up to the video cameras to wave good-bye. It was a heart-warming moment that offered a connection between students that have never met in person yet are working together to tackle common health challenges. We hope to continue to build on this relationship with the University of Rwanda and share One Health knowledge between groups to make us better global health leaders.