• Veterinary Medicine undergraduates at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University will be able to choose a new elective course entitled “One Health: connecting humans, animals and the environment”. The course will provide them with a greater understanding of One Health concepts, taking an interdisciplinary perspective and highlighting its importance in today’s world.
  • The Dean of Veterinary Medicine made the announcement to coincide with the celebration of One Health Day.

“At the CEU Cardenal Herrera’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, we aim to provide our students with a comprehensive, up-to-date and multidisciplinary education. That’s why we want to go beyond nice words about One Health and take action, by encouraging our future veterinarians to learn more about this approach,” said the Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Joaquín Sopena, as he announced that a One Health course would now form part of the Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine.

This means that, next year, Veterinary Medicine students at CEU UCH will be able to choose an elective course, entitled “One Health: connecting humans, animals and the environment”.The course will provide them with a greater understanding of One Health concepts, taking an interdisciplinary perspective and highlighting its importance in today’s world.

“It means that our faculty will become the first in the whole of Europe to provide a course like this to its undergraduates.”

Joaquín Sopena, Dean of Veterinary Medicine

This decision is also a response to the assessement criteria established by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) in its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the accreditation of veterinary faculties.

“In the future, we hope to be able to make this elective course a compulsory one, and even for it to be included in all the degree programmes at the University,” said the Dean. This is something which is already happening in some medical and veterinary schools in the USA, in which trainee medical doctors and veterinarians receieve training in this area side by side. This enables them to meet and discuss the issues together and take onboard the importance of One Health at an early stage of their education and of how an interdiscplinary, coordinated approach is required.

One Health Ambassadors

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at CEU UCH has led the way in One Health, by including this issue since 2009 in different courses and and enabling students to carry out end-of-degree projects in this area. There have also been a series of conferences, seminars and workshops on One Health, with prominent guest speakers highlighting the importance of the issue from different disciplinary perspectives.

The CEU UCH professor in animal health, Santiago Vega, who has organized many One Health activities at the faculty, will be the course coordinator. Professor Vega, together with Federico Mayor Zaragoza and Fernando Fariñas, co-authored the only book which exists in Spanish on this theme, entitled “One Health. Cambio Climático, Contaminación Ambiental y el impacto sobre la salud humana y animal”, and he is Spain’s representative on CYTED’s thematic network concerning health, climate change and loss of biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean (“Una salud en Iberoamérica y el Caribe frente al Cambio Climático y pérdida de Biodiversidad”, USCC).

“In today’s globalized world, the old diseases are still out there and new ones are able to spread more quickly than ever, due to the closely connected ecosystems and links between humans and animals. The One Health perspective sheds light on this relationship, and it means that human and animal health concerns need to be addressed in a closer and more coordinated fashion,” Vega said.

For Vega, the aim of One Health is to improve the health and well-being of human beings, animals and the environment through an innovative, interdiscplinary and systematic approach.

“One Health is not just about getting people from different scientific disciplines involved: it means we need a coordinated approach, with smooth communication, data sharing and joint action of everyone involved.”

Prof Santiago Vega

The COVID-19 pandemic, a health crisis caused by a virus of probable animal origin, has underlined “the importance of One Health as a concept when we consider the health issues and risks affecting the whole world” said Professor Vega.

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