A therapy dog with attendees of the 2016 One Health Research Symposium. Photo by Caitlin Taylor.

One Health talks connect students, research

What do two board members of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization–International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), a student leader from the University of California, Davis, and a therapy dog named Subie all have in common?

They're all part of this winter's 2017 "Bringing One Health to Life" discussion series at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

The series, now in its second year, is designed to explore different areas of One Health: the idea that human, environmental and animal health are all inextricably linked.

The first talk will feature Colleen Dell, the U of S Research Chair in One Health and Wellness, alongside her colleague Darlene Chalmers, an assistant professor in the University of Regina's Faculty of Social Work. Together they will engage in a discussion about their work that explores the therapeutic bond between humans and animals.

"There's so much to learn from the bond we have with our animals," says Dell, who is also a professor in the Department of Sociology at the U of S College of Arts and Science. Her work specifically examines how therapy dogs contribute to human health and wellness.

Dell and Chalmers are planning an interactive event with photos, videos and a chance to discuss the potential positive impacts of dogs on different populations. They will discuss their research involving therapy dogs in a federal penitentiary and a methadone service program, then tie in how this work connects to the overall concept of One Health.

"If we want to push forward in health, we have to push forward with those conversations," says Dell.

The entire "Bringing One Health to Life" discussion series will introduce different aspects of One Health and invite attendees to engage in a dialogue about how they can incorporate this concept into their own professional practice. The discussion series echoes the themes of the annual U of S One Health Leadership Experience (OHLE) that's scheduled for Aug. 25-27, 2017.

2017 Bringing One Health to Life discussion series

All events in the series will be held at the St. Thomas More College cafeteria (Choices) on the U of S campus. Food is complimentary. To RSVP for the events, visit the OHLE website. Questions? Email ohle.info@usask.ca.

Discussion #1: Why do dogs make us feel better?

Featuring Colleen Dell, the U of S Research Chair in One Health and Wellness and professor, Department of Sociology and School of Public Health; and Darlene Chalmers, assistant professor, University of Regina Faculty of Social Work and co-chair, Veterinary Social Work Initiative Committee.

5-7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10

Discussion #2: The many sides of One Health and its integral role in society

Featuring physicians Dr. Tippi Mak, senior deputy director of Regional Health and Community Outreach at the Health Promotion Board of Singapore; and Dr. Craig Vanderwagen, a senior partner at Martin, Blancki & Associates who is an expert in disaster preparedness and response, federal health delivery systems and public health and clinical medicine.

5-7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25

Discussion #3: The student experience in One Health

Featuring Risa Pesapane, a One Health student leader from the Foley Laboratory of Infectious Disease Ecology at the University of California, Davis. Pesapane is a graduate research fellow, a One Health specialist, ecologist, conservation biologist and a member of the One Health Commission Board of Directors.

5-7 p.m., Thursday, March 16
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