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Jenn Nyhof, a fourth-year veterinary student and president of the U of S One Health Club. Photo: Myrna MacDonald,

One Health conference nurtures careers

Jenn Nyhof of Thompson, Man., is a fourth-year veterinary student, president of the University of Saskatchewan's One Health Club and a veteran participant of the university's One Health Leadership Experience conference.

Jenn Nyhof of Thompson, Man., is a fourth-year veterinary student, president of the University of Saskatchewan's One Health Club and a veteran participant of the university's One Health Leadership Experience conference.

Nyhof has attended the annual event for three years in a row (2012-2014), and she's an enthusiastic supporter of the conference that's geared toward U of S health science students.

Before attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Nyhof worked as a public health inspector in northern Manitoba — a job that exposed her to the idea of One Health. As an inspector she worked with professionals across a variety of disciplines – veterinarians, physicians and nurses – who were working together to solve problems related to food safety, drinking water quality and environmental contamination.

Q: How would you define the concept of "One Health"?

A: I consider it a collaboration between numerous health disciplines with the goal of preventing and controlling health-related problems.

Q: Why did you want to get involved?

A: I had been exposed to the concept of One Health many years ago, and I've always felt very strongly about the subject. I thought it was inspiring: having the opportunity to go to the conference, networking with so many other professionals, seeing world-class speakers and being able to sit down and actually talk to some of the people I considered leaders in their field.

Q: What has it done for you and your career so far?

A: Because of the One Health Leadership Experience, I was able to take part in a U of S initiative. I received funding to complete a U of S One Health student project, and I developed the framework for something called the ACHOICE program. It's in its developmental phase, but once it's fully functional, it will be a non-profit organization that provides assistance to pet owners who are in crisis.

Because of my involvement in that project, I had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Calgary and network with other like-minded individuals who appreciate the interconnectedness between human, animal and environmental health.
For more information about attending the 2015 U of S One Health Leadership Experience (Aug. 21-23), visit the OHLE web site. Registration closes on August 14.

Q: What is the value in connecting with health care students across different disciplines?

A: As you're networking with these individuals, it gives you an appreciation of their scope of practice. If you do run into situations in the future, then you have a better idea of how those people can provide assistance. I think it's important to try to build those relationships before there is any time of crisis so you have working relationships. I think that makes problem-solving a lot easier when issues do come up.

Q: If you were trying to convince someone to attend the conference, what would you tell them?

A: I would tell them it's an excellent opportunity for networking and building relationships. It opens a lot of doors for professional development. You have the opportunity to listen to world-class speakers who are experts in their field.

The small group discussions are very worthwhile in the sense that you actually get to do case scenarios where you work through problems and come up with solutions together.

Q: Could you share something you've learned or a connection you made because of the conference?

A: In response to the very first One Health leadership conference, that was the beginning of the One Health Club on campus. By going to the conference and by being involved in the club, I was able to eventually become its president. It improved my organizational skills and helped me to become a leader.

Q: What was the highlight of last year's event for you?

Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz presented last year. She is the author of Zoobiquity, and she gave a very inspiring presentation on the interconnectedness of human health.
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