At the heart of DelVal’s One Health is solving global challenges together

By Logan Freed / Full360 Contributor & Conservation & Wildlife Management 

“Not one global problem can be addressed by one discipline.”

Delaware Valley University Professor Dr. Sarah Dole’s words represent why students and leaders from across campus, from across disciplines must unite to tackle global health challenges together.

Under the “One Health” program at Delaware Valley University, the multi-disciplinary approach works locally, regionally, nationally, and globally to help attain “optimal wellbeing for people and society, the environment and plants, and animals.” Together, the three major components make up the One Health triad, and the well-being of each is inextricably linked to the others in the triad.

“One health is a recognition that we as humans are a part of a global ecosystem,” said Professor Reg Hoyt, who is behind the One Health initiative at DelVal.

Dr. Ben Rusiloski, President of Delaware Valley University, said the One Health program is an example of what sets DelVal apart:

“I think that we are poised particularly coming out of the pandemic, given the majors that we have and some of the issues that have arisen, not only as the pandemic began but what is hopefully going to transition it to the new normal. Those programs collectively and collaboratively, can really make a difference here under this banner of One Health recognizing that we have the tools here that really allow us to be a leader in these issues that intersect all of the different facets of the world in which we live.” 

The small school community creates a homey environment and allows students and staff to have a personalized experience. The One Health program is one of the many personalized feels to this school and involves multiple disciplines throughout the program and community as a whole.”

A series of events are offered this Spring. For more information, go to this site. The next event is at 6 p.m. March 2, “On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galapagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden,” which will be hosted by Elizabeth Hennessy, of University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Events and information on One Health, click here.  

What is One Health at Del Val?

At Del Val, One Health Program holds seminars dedicated to subjects related to the health of humans, the environment, and wildlife.

Specific examples of the seminars from this semester include Sustainable Food Systems, Business changes from green initiatives to true social good, a look at the Delaware River Basin, Wildlife Trafficking, and the Healing Power of Nature. 

Early last semester, the university hosted week-long events dedicated to One Health. It included:

  • A “Outbreak”, a Smithsonian Natural History Museum traveling exhibit will be in the LSB lobby all week. 
  • A One Health Pledge— a pledge to do something on behalf of yourself and the world  
  • A One Health Seminar focused on Wildlife Trafficking
  • One Health Mock Disease Outbreak 
  • Student Writing Competition
  • One Health Public Service Announcement Competition

These activities allowed students to participate and expand their knowledge of what One Health is. 

Why is it important?

There are many aspects and issues that One Health covers, and these issues can range from diseases, food safety and security, environmental health, wildlife health, and even the mental health of humans. These issues, along with many others, create the idea of One Health. 

Each issue leads to another, which is the most important aspect of One Health as a whole. When we are asked questions about the health of the animals in the environment, we have to be aware of what questions that will bring up regarding how humans are related to the environment.

Who it involves?

Students at any university find themselves going to study one or two particular subjects, things that are interesting to them. The goal of One Health is to increase the awareness of issues between the animals, humans, and the environment and this involves multiple disciplines. 

The One Health Seminars at Del Val are designed to impact students from all of the colleges at the University from Business, Science, and Psychology. These seminars were all directed by individuals who do work that expand disciplinary projects, speakers, and writers, which points to say that all disciplines are involved. 

“One health is the connection between the animals, humans, and the environment,” student Michelle Glitzer said.

It is very easy to go to someplace and say we need to preserve this environment, but we need to know how that impacts people. So that brings in the Humanities, it brings in Sociology, psychology. How does it impact the local community, telling them they can no longer go into this area

So, these seminars and knowledge are a way for students to get exposed to professions that are multidisciplinary, be involved in conversations that are important to the community, and help be part of the solution in the future.

How to get more people involved?

One of the biggest issues Del Val is having regarding One Health and the One Health seminars is the struggle of how to get more students and staff involved. There are emails and notices sent out about the One Health seminars and One Health week, and the emails and notices are sent out to the entire campus community. 

Relaying information via social media, posting information from the seminars, or even live streaming the information might be a better way to get more students and staff involved.

The Next Step

Delaware Valley University is just one small part of One Health in our world today, and to be involved in One Health at Del Val is the next step in finding solutions for problems in the future. 

Collaboration between multiple disciplines is the support that we need as a community, both local and global, to ask and answer questions that will help us create not only new jobs and new solutions to issues that involve everybody, but also discover new possibilities that brings us inside the circle of One Health. 

 One of the best things that anyone can do as an individual is to be aware of these issues and stay up to date on the research and conversations that surround the topics. It is time to ask yourself, how does One Health affect you, and what can you do to make a difference in these issues?

For more information on One Health, click here.

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