(Press Release) ST. KITTS – In recognition of the global One Health movement, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) recently brought together community leaders, researchers, faculty and students to highlight initiatives that use a One Health, multi-disciplinary approach to recognizing and preventing patterns of disease transmission that are a result of changing ecosystems around the world.
The week-long event, which was held in recognition of One Health Day Nov. 3, is held each year at RUSVM, which is based on the island of St. Kitts. Initiatives highlighted by RUSVM are particularly relevant to Caribbean nations. This year’s theme was on food safety and security, with topics including the introduction of new animal breeds to the island community; food security and health linkages in crop farming; and growing green tilapia as part of aquaculture practices. The event was held in conjunction with RUSVM’s Research Week, and students participated with “three-minute thesis” presentations.
Invited speakers included Dr. Tracey Challenger, BSc, DVM, MSc, Director, Ministry of Agriculture, St. Kitts, who is involved in shaping local and regional policies aimed at enhancing food safety and food security on St. Kitts and across the wider Caribbean region; Stuart LaPlace, Founder/Proprietor of Green Leaf and Director of St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards; Dr. Leighton Naraine, PhD, MA, BA, Director of Employee and Programme Development, Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC); Mr. Melvin James, Agricultural Development Advisor, Former Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, St. Kitts. To learn more about RUSVM’s One Health Day events, which were held Nov. 1-5, 2021, visit https://veterinary.rossu.edu/research-week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, highlighting the strong inter-connectiveness of animals, humans and the ecosystem, in addition to the valuable role of veterinarians. One Health is supported by global organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CARICOM.
“The Department of Agriculture embraces the One Health concept as part of its transformational and development strategy for the agricultural sector,” said Director of the Ministry of Agriculture in St. Kitts Tracey Challenger, BSc, DVM, MSc. “As the gateway for food safety and food and nutrition security, hence the pathway to sustainability of life, we must ensure that all elements of AHFS, inclusive of Environmental Health and Veterinary Public Health, be considered at every stage of planning and implementation of the new road map.”
The One Health approach is at the core of the veterinary curriculum, as well as a Master of Science in One Health degree and a Certificate in One Health. With four immersive research centers, RUSVM is regionally recognized for its scholarly endeavors. While each center offers its own perspective, all coalesce behind an integrated One Health research philosophy. The One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine focuses on research aimed at understanding and combating zoonotic, vector-borne and other infectious diseases affecting human and animal health.