Words by Joelle Sweeney | Photos by Trina Wood
Students of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine joined the School of Medicine students to offer free healthcare services to an underserved community in rural California. They have established a monthly One Health Clinic that integrates animal health with human health, while considering environment and life-style of the ‘family unit.’ The ‘family unit’ is defined as the human, animal, environment/household, and lifestyle that contribute to the health and wellbeing of the individuals. During these monthly clinics, the veterinary clinic provides wellness care and preventative medicine, such as vaccines, parasite prevention, and education to empower the family unit to take charge of their own health. Presently, the veterinary clinic serves over 100 families and over 200 pets.
At the end of each clinical day, the veterinarians and physicians come together to exchange their ideas and brainstorm on how to improve healthcare for the family unit. This fosters open communication to develop a One Health Clinic model that addresses the needs of animals, people, and the environment. They discuss cases of interest as well as pre-arranged topics like zoonotic diseases, environmental exposures, daily life-style habits, such as food storage in a rural area. These open interprofessional discussions exchanges knowledge between professions, while improving healthcare of the community as a whole.
Both teams participate, each giving their own perspectives of the topic, as well as clinical applications, when it applies. This open forum provides a training ground for health students and professionals to broaden their knowledge and skill development as doctors and veterinarians, while benefiting health at a community level.