Scholars sought to participate in One Health program

June 18, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An interdisciplinary group of faculty announced a call for scholars to participate in the Penn State One Health Scholars Program. The program is a cross-disciplinary applied-training program in which a cohort of scholars will work closely with faculty whose research, teaching and practice involve One Health. The deadline for applying is Wednesday, June 30.

“One Health is the idea that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and the environment we all share,” said Leann Andrews, co-principal investigator (PI) for the Scholars Program and assistant professor of landscape architecture in the College of Arts and Architecture.

According to Andrews, the program is particularly interesting because it crosses disciplines, colleges and campuses.

“The whole idea is to find a way to connect those at Penn State — students, faculty and staff — working on or interested in One Health,” she said.

The program is open to Penn State undergraduate students who are in the final two years of their program and all graduate students. Interested candidates must complete a short application to express their interest.

Stephen Mainzer, an assistant professor of landscape architecture and lead PI for the program, said that while Penn State has a vast network of research allied with One Health, it also has institutional and disciplinary barriers that have slowed or prevented past collaborative efforts.

“Our goal is to apply a small-in-scope yet big-in-concept pilot project to break down these barriers to collaborate in research, teaching and practice, and create positive change towards holistic healthy life for all,” Mainzer said. “The Scholars Program was developed to support these larger efforts while training the next generation of One Health professionals.”

The first cohort will work with faculty to pool existing data and resources from One Health partners to develop a spatial database/map that allows researchers to examine the socio-environmental determinants of perinatal — maternal and infant — health in humans and animals in Pennsylvania.

“In the short term, we are looking to train a group of scholars in collaborative interdisciplinary research and, through our pilot project, identify fundable future research questions around human-animal-environment relationships in Pennsylvania by harnessing the skills, methods, data and tools in our collaborative group and their networks,” Mainzer said. “In the long term, we hope our efforts will help forge robust networks between One Health researchers, teachers and practitioners that support future action and learning to improve One Health in Pennsylvania and beyond.”

The Scholars Program emerged from a recently awarded seed grant from the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, which was awarded to the Penn State One Health Group, a group of faculty from different disciplines at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and University Park working on One Health.

In addition to Mainzer and Andrews, the other co-PIs for the Scholars Program group includes Sona Jasani, a staff physician and assistant professor at Hershey Medical Center and Justin Brown, an assistant teaching professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Currently, the Penn State One Health Group Technical Advisory Committee comprises faculty in comparative medicine, landscape architecture, anthropology, family and community medicine, global health, veterinary and biomedical sciences, obstetrics and gynecology, ecology and more.

“The exciting thing about One Health is it extends to all colleges, departments and schools,” Mainzer and Andrews both said. “We are also looking for faculty and staff interested in One Health to join our quarterly Penn State One Health Group gatherings and/or join the Technical Advisory Committee for the Scholars Program. We welcome interested collaborators from all backgrounds, identities and diverse experiences.”

Interested individuals can contact Andrews at LAndrews@psu.edu for more information.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 18, 2021