The National Park Service has provided $80,100 in a cooperative agreement to Colorado State University and Colorado School of Public Health to promote One Health across National Park Service programs.
The concept of One Health advocates cooperation among human and veterinary medicine and wildlife biology to combat zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can spread between animals and people, and to promote the health of all species and the environment. This partnership will build collaborations among public health, veterinary medicine, wildlife biology and environmental health experts at the National Park Service, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Public Health.
“One Health is about an interdisciplinary approach to optimizing the health of all species. That means we can’t do this work alone,” said Dr. Margaret Wild, chief wildlife veterinarian in the National Park Service Biological Resource Management Division. “Partnerships like the one with Colorado State University give professionals an opportunity to interact, not just with National Park Service but among their peers at the university.”
Through December 2012, the Colorado State University and Colorado School of Public Health team will collaborate with the park service’s Division of Biological Resource Management and the Office of Public Health. Students and faculty will develop communications messages and reports about zoonotic diseases. In addition, veterinary and wildlife biology faculty at CSU and park service partners will design and deliver wildlife disease short courses for National Park Service managers and biologists. These short courses will incorporate the latest research on zoonotic diseases and will feature talks by professionals in wildlife biology, veterinary medicine and public health.
For example, parks employees will learn about how CSU veterinarians conduct necropsies – or an autopsy on an animal – during the course and become more familiar with the signs of infectious disease or other illnesses when observing wildlife or the body of a dead animal. Parks personnel also will be coached on how to protect themselves from illness while handling sick or dead animals.
Lorann Stallones, professor and director of the graduate degree program in Public Health at CSU, a part of the collaborative Colorado School of Public Health which also includes UNC and CU, said, “The partnership with the National Park Service is a natural one for CSU because of the mutual interest in One Health.”
“We can provide training and expertise that will expand the capacity of the National Park Service in a variety of areas, and the National Park Service offers some exceptional opportunities for students to be involved in experiential learning either through practicum, capstone projects or volunteering,” Stallones said.
As part of the cooperative agreement, NPS will provide internships for CSU students in wildlife biology, environmental health, public health and veterinary medicine. Students will have the opportunity to learn on-the-ground applications of public health, conservation, veterinary medicine and how federal agencies work to manage the health of all species. Interns will be assigned to the Washington, D.C., office or individual parks.
“The National Park Service is proud and excited to partner with Colorado State University as we explore how to combine wildlife health, public health and environmental health to promote the health of all species and the planet we share,” said Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service.
Colorado State University encompasses programs in wildlife biology, environmental health, public health and veterinary medicine through the departments of fish, wildlife and conservation biology, environmental and radiological health sciences, clinical sciences, and Colorado School of Public Health.
The new Colorado School of Public Health, the first and only school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracts top tier faculty and students from across the country and provides a vital contribution toward ensuring our region’s health and well-being. Collaboratively formed by the University of Colorado Denver, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases and costly injuries.
Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to safeguard these nearly 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But our work doesn’t stop there. We are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active and have fun.