With the end of the semester, we wanted to acknowledge how fortunate we are to have guest faculty from other top institutions contribute their unique perspectives to our conservation medicine program. In the MCM Health, Disease and the Environment course, students acquire a basic understanding of disease mechanisms, host defenses, and basic principles of disease ecology with an emphasis on the integration of animal, human, and environmental health.
Ari Bernstein, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment hosted a session on biodiversity and global health. His work examines the human health effects of global environmental changes with the aim of promoting a deeper understanding of these subjects among students, educators, policy makers, and the public. Jonathan Epstein, DVM, MPH (V’02 and MCM Program Committee Member), from EcoHealth Alliance, studies emerging diseases in Asia and Africa and discussed causes and drivers of disease emergence and resurgence including his personal experiences with Nipah and SARS. Andrew Allison, PhD, a virologist and post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine spoke about Orthomyxoviruses including the Wellfleet Bay virus that he and course director Dr. Julie Ellis helped discover (see “Ducks are Dying”). Dr. Alison also delivered a campus talk about his research on cross-species transmission and evolution of canine parvovirus. Lastly, Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH Director of the Center for One Health Research at the University of Washington gave a very interactive session covering linkages between human animal, and environmental health. His work explores these linkages in a “One Health” paradigm and he has hosted and employed a number of MCM graduates. We thank of them for their ongoing contribution to the MCM program and for helping to expand the professional network of our students.