Iowa State University, USA

“The whole plan for the 2017 Iowa One Health Conference was for it to be bigger and better than the first one,” said conference co-chair Neil Vezeau, a first-year veterinary student at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, “and we certainly did that.”

Open to the public, the conference boasted multiple sessions led by professionals to help increase students’ understanding of the One Health concept. The conference was divided into 2 tracks: geographic information systems and professional development, both of which can be applied broadly across the sciences.

Vezeau said one of the group’s biggest goals was to increase collaboration among Iowa universities and colleges. “Through sponsorship, attendees, planning team members, and conference speakers, we had participation from every major college or university within the state of Iowa,” Vezeau said. The group even gained government advocacy with a gubernatorial proclamation of November as Iowa One Health Month.

The professionals who presented at the conference helped it stand out among other student-led events, according to Vezeau. “It can actually be kind of a logistical challenge to get national- or international-level speakers out here,” he said. “I think one of the big differences between our event and other events competing for these sorts of grants is that we were actively bringing in or flying in or driving in people to come speak at the conference.”

The 2017 Iowa One Health Conference also took first place in the 2017 Student American Veterinary Medical Association One Health Grand Challenge, which awarded the student group $1700 toward the event.

Looking Forward

Although Vezeau has stepped down as cochair of the Iowa One Health Conference, he is excited to see what’s in store for the 2018 event. “The hope is that it will continue to be a massive collaboration. Our planning team last year was 20 people strong, including people from 15-plus fields,” he said. “It was an extremely collaborative venture, and there’s no doubt that it will continue to be as such.”

By Kerry Lengyel, April 12, 2018 - source