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One Health Module: The Inside Scoop

Written by Sukham Brar

With ITR fast approaching, we have dedicated this blog post to answer frequently asked questions about the BMSc One Health module! This blog post will feature: general information, courses and what to expect.

What is One Health?

One Health is an approach that recognizes the interdependence between animal, human and environmental health (for more information on the specifics of what One Health is and an in-depth look into each pillar be sure to check out our other blog posts!). This approach emphasizes a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to achieving optimal health, which is reflective in the course requirements and expectations for this module

What topics and health problems are discussed in One Health courses?

The One Health module offers three courses focused on One Health as well as a fourth-year research project course (One Health 4980E). In third year, One Health 3300 (Foundations in One Health) and One Health 3600 (One Health in Action) are offered. In fourth year, One Health 4100G (human health, animal health and comparative pathology) is offered. One Health 3300 introduces students to the fundamental aspects of One Health and each of its pillars. One Health 3600 builds on the knowledge in One Health 3300 and focuses on implementing a one health action plan to real-life health problems.

Examples of health problems discussed in these courses are zoonotic disease outbreaks, antimicrobial resistance, environmental contamination by pollutants, and chronic diseases. These courses allow students to explore their interests and apply knowledge through written term projects and group collaboration. Students have the opportunity to choose any health issue that interests them to research and analyze from a One Health perspective during the semester.

What are the benefits of being a part of a smaller program?

The small class size in the One Health module allows for a more collaborative environment and gives students a better opportunity to get to know their peers and instructors. Personally, after being in lectures with hundreds of students during Year 1 and Year 2 of Medical Sciences, being a part of such a close-knit community in the One Health module really benefited not only my learning, but in establishing relationships with my professors and peers. The smaller class size gave me confidence and the opportunity to participate in discussions, allowing me to apply and expand my knowledge further. The strong community aspect in the One Health module made it easier to build relationships with my professor and seek one-on-one guidance. Also, getting to know so many of my peers through interactive lectures created a supportive community within this module.

What other courses do students in the One Health module take?

This module offers students the opportunity to take courses related to all pillars of one health (animal, human and environmental health). The following list is an example of potential third- and fourth-year courses you have the opportunity to take in the One Health module: Pathology 4200 (current concepts in the pathogenesis of human diseases), Sociology 3380 (work and health across the life course), Geography 3431 (geography of health and health care) and Environmental science 3300 (natural science of environmental problems). In addition, there are several more course options offered which allows students in this module a great deal of flexibility in selecting courses that interest them.

All the requirements for the One Health model and course information can be found on the Western Academic Calendar website here. The wide range of life science, social science, physical science and humanities courses give students an opportunity to view health problems from multiple disciplines and truly understand the bigger picture of health.

Personally, what was your favourite one health course?

Aside from the One Health courses, I found Geography 3431 to be one of my favorite courses. This course introduced a geographical approach to health and healthcare which is different from the typical medical approach I have been taught throughout university. This relates directly to One Health as the One Health approach tries to understand health from all perspectives. Particularly, I found this course interesting because it looks at health disparities, such as access to healthcare services or incidence of chronic diseases in certain groups, based on geographical distribution.

If you are interested in learning more about One Health on our Facebook page you can find our recorded ITR information session! If you still have more questions, do not hesitate to send a message to us directly on Facebook or Instagram.

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