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Meet Katie Delk, Zoo Medicine Resident

The Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center partners with the Sacramento Zoo to provide veterinary services and training opportunities for Zoological Medicine residents like Katie Delk, featured in the video above. Zoological Medicine residents spend their second and third years of the residency at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park and SeaWorld

The Zoological Medicine Service and Residency Program was developed by Dr. Murray E. Fowler in 1974. It was the first zoological medicine residency in the world. The program is now run by Dr. Ray Wack. 



Sarad Paudel's One Health Institute Fellowship

Sarad developed a matrix of infectious diseases in sensitive wildlife in Nepal and, in the One Health Institute lab, received training in detection and diagnosis of emerging and re-emerging diseases from humans, non-human primates and rodents around the world.

Sarad Paudel is a PhD student at the the Laboratory of Wildlife Biology and Medicine at the Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine at Hokkaido University in Japan. He was selected by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) under the International Priority Graduate Programs (PGP) to get his PhD at Hokkaido University. He is studying tuberculosis in Nepalese elephants for his thesis research. 

Hokkaido University's Leading Program at the Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine arranged for Sarad to spend one month as a fellow at the UC Davis One Health Institute for his internship training from May 13 to June 12. While at UC Davis, he was under the supervision of Professor Jonna Mazet, Director of One Health Institute. He participated in a wide variety of activities aimed at giving him a multi-faceted experience and fostering his career as a global leader in veterinary science and One Health. 

Sarad (center) and the OHI lab team. 

During his time at the OHI, Sarad came to value the input and needs of stakeholders at UC Davis and abroad. During his brief training, he was actively involved in global wildlife and human health projects and learned the techniques employed at the OHI to manage projects and investigate disease threats. 

During just one month, he developed a matrix of infectious diseases in sensitive wildlife in Nepal and, in the OHI lab, received training in detection and diagnosis of emerging and re-emerging diseases from humans, non-human primates and rodents around the world. His work on the development of the matrix of infectious diseases in endangered species of wildlife in Nepal will be used to help identify and prioritize response and training plans for infectious diseases that may emerge in these species.

Sarad and Dr. Jonna Mazet, Director of the One Health Institute. 

Sarad joined other activities of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center at OHI as well. He visited and gained knowledge on the activities at the California Raptor Center, Students for One Health clinic for underserved minorities, and the Sacramento Zoo, which is collaborating with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine on the residency program in zoological medicine. Sarad also joined seminars and presentations at OHI during his training here.

Sarad will have great potential as an academic researcher or scientist in his career, particularly in fields that specialize in infectious diseases transmitted at the interface of humans, domestic animals, wildlife, and environment.



The Power of Asking

By Jamie Sherman

Often times people are afraid to approach superiors and ask to get involved, but in my mind, the worst that can happen is they say no.

I'm currently a 4th year PhD student in the Animal Biology grad group, expecting to graduate in June of 2015. My research focuses on black bear population health in California, with a specific focus on bear population size and the zoonotic parasite, Trichinella. 

I did my undergraduate studies at Syracuse University in New York and fell in love with wildlife research during a study abroad trip in South Africa. While there, I approached some veterinarians at the Kruger National Park and asked if I could come back the following summer to do a research project. They said yes, and from there we designed a project looking at babesia infections in lions in the park. 

As soon as I got back to Syracuse I applied for funding and returned to South Africa a few months later. After a summer of working with the vets in the park and a wide variety of animals, I decided I wanted to make a career out of wildlife research. 

For my graduate degree, I wanted to try something new, so I reached out to Dr. Holly Ernest and asked about joining her lab and working with wildlife in California. Once Holly and I got to know each other, we decided I would be a good fit for the lab, so I moved out to Davis. 

During my first year I considered working with many species - mountain lions, hummingbirds, bighorn sheep, but ultimately decided on bears. California’s black bear population is growing rapidly in size and distribution, and there is a need for research to better understand and plan for future management (and there was funding to back this need). 

I work very closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Two of my projects are funded by them, and I work part time as a scientific aide with the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory. As a sci-aide I primarily work weekends taking care of the orphan animals that come to lab. So far I have worked with about 10 bear cubs, five mountain lion cubs, a bobcat, two deer and two red foxes. 

For three of the mountain lion cubs, I was primary caretaker which involved hand-rearing them for a few weeks. It was awesome! I also help out with some of their big field projects — 3 bighorn sheep captures and one deer capture. 

I got my position at Fish and Wildlife in a way similar to my other experiences: I asked if I could work with them. I started off as a volunteer for six months and then when a position opened up, I was rewarded for my time. 

The main thing I've learned as I continue on my journey through the research world is the power of asking to get involved. I asked the vets to do research in South Africa, I asked Holly about joining her lab, and I asked Fish and Wildlife if I could volunteer.

Often times people are afraid to approach superiors and ask to get involved, but in my mind, the worst that can happen is they say no. I have gained a great set of mentors that I would never have gotten to know if I was afraid to approach them. 



6 Pieces of Advice For Your Career in One Health (VIDEOS)

Navigating your education can be daunting and overwhelming. One way to add clarity to the process is to gather information from those who have already traveled their paths and familiarized themselves with the terrain. 

That's why the Students for One Health hosted a panel at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in early 2014. The goal was to give current veterinary students a chance to pick the brains of three faculty members and two PhD students, all of whom are working in the fields of One Health and wildlife. Their advice can be found in the videos below. 

1. One Health for wildlife vets 

2. Choosing the right path

3. MPVM vs. PhD

4. Effective emails & resumes

5. The political realm

6. Marketing yourself

The panel included, left to right: Tristan Burgess, DVM, PhD Candidate, Deana Clifford, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Kirsten Gilardi, DVM, Dipl. ACZM, Christine Johnson, DVM, MPVM, PhD, and Lisa Shender, MS, DVM, PhD Candidate. 

Related: The Power of Asking


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The Growing Impact of Student-Run Projects

When we decided to devote a volume of Evotis entirely to the work of future leaders in One Health and wildlife, the Students for One Health (SOH) immediately sprang to mind.

We included stories about student work being done in Knights Landing, California and Nicaragua to give an up-close glimpse into how these projects function on the ground-level, but we also wanted to zoom out and think about how these clubs fit into the larger educational experience at UC Davis and at universities around the world. As you’ll read below, the student-driven structure offers an abundance of opportunities and can be of great value to the school. 

To explore those opportunities, we tapped Paulina Zielinska, DVM, MPVM, MPH and Haley McDermott, MPH, both of whom are One Health enthusiasts who have worked closely with student-run projects at UC Davis for the past several years. 

By Paulina Zielinska & Haley McDermott

Within the last three years, the Students for One Health club, housed within the UC Davis One Health Institute, has established two successful student-run projects.  Focused on important international and domestic issues, “The Knights Landing One Health Clinic” in California and “One Health, Nicaragua” are quickly gaining recognition for their achievements.

Last March, club members won three out of four poster awards for their work at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Conference, and SOH projects are continuing to push forward with accelerating momentum.  You can see their posters and hear from students here.

As word spreads about these recent successes, many faculty and UC Davis affiliates have become curious about the quality, rationale and sustainability of the student-run projects model. This discussion is more important now than ever, as similarly structured student-run projects have begun taking shape at schools around the globe.

UCD veterinary students at the One Health Fair in Knights Landing, CA | Photo by Paulina Zielinska

Student-run vs. traditional projects

The traditional, faculty-driven project is the model we are all most familiar with: A faculty member with vast knowledge and expertise in one or more areas selects or is funded to study a particular topic. The faculty member then forms a study design, develops hypotheses, and recruits staff and students who may perform data collection, assist with analyses and write-ups, deliver poster presentations, etc. In this model, students gain an incredible research skill-set, have the opportunity to develop a very meaningful mentor relationship and may even find a passion or interest in the area they are studying — sometimes launching into an alternate career trajectory that may not have been considered otherwise. Finally, faculty-driven projects are funded which is a great benefit for students, and faculty are able to support them more fully.

Conversely, student-run projects start with passionate students who have a deep interest in topics or areas for which there is no obvious opportunity to become involved. These projects are led by students who seek hands-on experience and the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a setting beyond those experiences readily available and outside of the traditional academic model. The disadvantage of this model is that these projects are hard to fund, and private support is critical to sustain them. However, because these projects are not constrained by the bounds of University-driven or externally funded research, they may promote innovation and creativity beyond what might be expected in pre-planned projects. The students, through trial and error and intrinsic motivation, gain skills in project development, leadership, communication, collaboration, interdisciplinary teamwork, project evaluation and sustainability that may otherwise be hard to come by.

The varied type of work inherent in these projects prepares students for future professions by providing an introduction and exposure to a variety of careers. Students find out what they enjoy and discover where their natural skills are at their sharpest. This valuable insight is not only gained through real-world experience, it is practiced in an incredibly rewarding and therefore effective setting. Many students we have worked with continue to cite working on these projects as one of their best experiences in school.

The collaborative approach of student-led projects also has networking value. Exposure to a variety of organizations along the way helps students connect with one another, as well as with faculty. In this model, the students are turning problem-focused ideas into action-oriented solutions, and they are doing it together. 

Value to the school

The student-run model is not just beneficial for students; it can be great for the University that houses them. Student-run projects provide an attractant for recruiting entrepreneurially-minded graduate students. These projects also expand and strengthen connections with other Universities and organizations through faculty, staff, organization, and community participation. They increase the potential for University research findings and publications, development and piloting of novel programs, and initiatives for training and education, all while providing an alternative student experience without increasing the daily work burden on faculty who do not have the capacity to mentor additional students.

Finally, they provide students with more opportunities and choices to complement their learning experience, enhancing their overall satisfaction with their education. 

UC Davis veterinary students introduce medical students to the various groups they have been partnering with in Sabana Grande, Nicaragua | Photo by Laura Budd

Finding a balance 

To those who have been closely involved with student-run projects here at UC Davis, it is clear that they are invaluable for faculty, students, and the University as a whole. But it’s also clear that these benefits will only reach their potential if the student-run projects are provided with a mechanism for support and guidance.

Students are demonstrably willing and able to carry out successful, innovative projects, but some level of active faculty support and mentorship is also required for sustainability. Student-run projects can easily become derailed or even overwhelmed and overburdened as students seek answers to questions along the way – and many questions could be answered by faculty who have vast experience with such issues.

At the same time, if you tilt too far in the direction of the faculty-driven projects, you end up with a top-down approach that adds to the faculty’s workload and stifles the innovation, creativity, and learning-by-doing approach that is so crucial to the student-run model.

The success of the model, therefore, depends on the ability to balance priorities between student and faculty needs.  This is not a new concept. Public Health, business, and development fields alike have long debated balancing top-down vs bottom-up priorities. What may be needed is a focus on the “middle-out” approach; meaning innovation should originate from the students, but guidance should still be provided from the top. A middle out approach further fosters student’s professional growth and networking skills, allowing for more collegial ties between faculty and students as information is exchanged to enhance project success. UC Davis faculty have already begun to facilitate this type of exchange by providing support and guidance on the One Health Advisory and One Health Student Project Advisory Boards.

Moving forward (at UC Davis and elsewhere) it is important that this balance remains at the forefront of the discussion. Student-led projects will only continue to prosper if faculty, staff, and the students continue to work together as one team.  

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7 Questions With Miles Daniels

By Jasjeet Dhanota

Before beginning his work at UC Davis, Miles Daniels completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at California State University Monterey Bay, where he researched fecal pathogens in coastal wetlands and the ways in which wetlands could improve water quality for humans and wildlife. For his PhD work at UC Davis, he has studied fecal pathogens from water sources in eastern India and the ways in which improved sanitation could reduce exposure to these disease-causing organisms. 

In the questions below, Daniels discusses his passion for the environment and shares some other fun facts about himself. 

1. How did you decide to work with wildlife?

Since growing up along the Ventura River in Ojai, California and exploring its many playgrounds as a kid, I have felt a strong connection to my environment, including the many wildlife species that I loved to watch. It is from this strong connection and the understanding that our health is tied to the health of the environment, that I developed an interest and passion for working to protect environmental resources and wildlife for today’s and future generations.

2. What do you like most about working at the One Health Institute?

I enjoy working in the One Health Institute because of the shared goals of the staff to conduct research to improve ways we interact with our environment for the betterment of ourselves as well as the protection of wildlife. Plus, all the people are very friendly!

3. What is the most rewarding part of the work you do?

Since I began working on research projects in California with an emphasis on reducing water quality impacts to human and animal health, I have been fortunate enough to work at beautiful field sites along the coast of California while conducting applied research. It’s this aspect of working on projects that have the potential to generate lasting improvements in the way we interact with our environment that makes my work enjoyable.

4. If you had the time to learn anything, what would it be?

I have always wanted to learn how to fly a plane. With a background in earth sciences, I always enjoy having a window seat when on commercial flights and looking at geological formations from a different perspective, and I would like to be able to turn the plane whenever I would like!

5. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

I would enjoy meeting Aldo Leopold, a leader in developing ideas about environmental stewardship. After reading his books and learning about his life and perspectives on environmental ethics, I would like to hear his viewpoints on how we manage and coexist with our environment today and how situations today can compare to when he was working to protect wilderness regions of the northwest.

6. What is the #1 most played song on your iPod?

One of my favorite artists is Bob Dylan. I enjoy his unique voice and some of my favorite songs of his, such as “Seven Curses”, are also great stories.

7. What goals do you have for the future?

After completing my degree I hope to find a job where I can continue applied research into management practices that will improve human, animal, and environmental health with an ultimate goal of working with policy makers to implement proven management practices. I will be happy as long as my passion for protecting the environment can be met and I get to continue exploring outdoors!

If you would like to learn more about Miles Daniels’ work in the Monterey Bay wetlands, follow this link.