Friday, May 18

One Health Symposium helps to improve the health of people, animals and the planet

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome speaks during the opening session of the One Health Symposium on April 12. Seated are, from left, Dr. Bobby R. Phills, Chancellor-Dean of the SU Land-Grant Campus and Dr. Mike Strain, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

Baton Rouge, La. – Mental Health, Louisiana’s Opioid Epidemic and Human Animal Relationships S.H.A.R.E. were among the many topics covered during the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus’ two-day ‘One Health Symposium: Promoting Sustainable Communities.’ The event was held April 12 – 13, 2018 at the Southern University Law Center.

The 'One Health' concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment.

The first day of the symposium focused on the various disciplines of the One Health community - medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, social sciences, nutrition, food science, engineering, agricultural and environmental sciences – together to improve the health of people, animals and the planet.

Students, faculty, staff and members of the community were provided with an opportunity to come together and share strategies as well as learn about the latest educational tools and resources which could facilitate the improvement of their health, the health of their animals - both pets and livestock - and the overall health of the environment.

The SU Land-Grant Campus’ three institutes - the Southern Institute for One Health One Medicine, the Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants, and the Southern Institute for Food Science, Nutrition and Wellness were also introduced during the symposium.

Daniel Whitley, Associate Administrator for the Foreign Agricultural Service at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), served as the luncheon speakers for the first day of the event.

Whitley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Southern University, is responsible for advising the USDA’s administration on trade policy issues to support American agriculture.

In his 20 years of working on agricultural trade issues he has served on trade negotiating teams in the World Trade Organization (WTO), directed trade analysis to support opening export markets and represented American agriculture in international organizations.

During his address, Whitley encouraged the students in attendance to never allow anyone to stop them from reaching their goals.

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain, SU Land-Grant Campus Chancellor-Dean Dr. Bobby Phills and SU Land-Grant Campus Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Development Dr. Andra Johnson provided greeting and addressed the participates on the first day of the symposium.

The day ended with a reception and a FASpitch Student Competition.

Day two of the symposium included student oral and poster presentations and students huddles -  which provided students with an opportunity to meet with agency representatives, academicians, and practitioners one-on-one to share their experiences and learn about job and scholarship opportunities.

Retired Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Michael J. Blackwell, DVM, MPH was the luncheon speaker.

Blackwell currently serves as the Director of the Pet Health Equity Program in the College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee. He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tuskegee University and a Master’s of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University.

The event ended with a student awards recognition banquet which recognized students with a 3.0 g.p.a. or higher.

“This symposium is another effort to better serve the citizens of Louisiana in a manner that is useful in addressing their scientific, technological, social, economic and cultural needs and enhance their overall quality of life,” said Dr. Andra Johnson. “The event was also designed to increase the marketability of our students while exposing them to individuals in their respective professions,” added Johnson.

The SU Land-Grant Campus plans to held its’ second annual One Health Symposium in the Spring of 2019.

Photos from the One Health Symposium are available here.


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