Study Abroad Course Advances One Health Initiative

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Dr. Kelsey Jurek tends to a burro as the students observe.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Media Contact: Kaylie Wehr | Coordinator, Public Relations and Marketing | 405-744-6740 | [email protected]

Study abroad courses provide a fun and educational experience that complements traditional classroom learning for undergraduate students to expand their knowledge and gain unique experiences.

A study abroad course provides pre-med and pre-vet undergraduate students with hands-on experience and a better understanding of the One Health concept.

One Health is a collaborative, transdisciplinary approach that works locally, nationally and globally to achieve optimal health for people, animals and our environment.

Hosted by Oklahoma State University Ferguson College of Agriculture in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Health Sciences, the June 2022 course took 18 pre-vets and two pre-meds to Mexico.

Dr. Kelsey Jurek – a CVM clinician and lecturer who served as a faculty advisor – and two third-year veterinary students, Braden Steidley and Porter Sciba, were in attendance at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The group traveled between Mexico City; Puebla; and Tierra Blanca, Veracruz. During the days of the rural clinic, they served the communities of Úrsulo-Galván, Nueva Masamilla and La Barahunda.

Jurek worked closely with local veterinarians to supervise groups of students as they performed examinations and provided care to the horses.

“Each equine (horse or burro) underwent a thorough physical examination, received a body condition score, and was age verified using their dentition (condition and arrangement of their teeth),” Jurek said. “All wounds on the animal were cleaned and treated with topical ointments and each equine was given an oral dewormer (worming medication).

“We also saw several horses with respiratory illnesses which we treated with antibiotics and performed several musculoskeletal and respiratory assessments and castrations.”

This study abroad course provided an opportunity for students and faculty to gain experience and serve others.

“This trip gave students hands-on experience working in their respective fields and exposure to what those career paths are all about,” Jurek said. “Another key objective was to introduce, integrate and promote the One Health initiative to students, CVM, CHS and the communities we have had the privilege of serving.

Students also learned the importance of serving others.

“Lastly, but certainly one of the most important parts of the trip, was providing medical care and education to community members and their working equines,” Jurek said. “By improving human and animal health, we have the opportunity to help improve the overall health of these communities – a true example of One Health at work!”

It was not only the students who benefited from this study abroad trip, the faculty also found it rewarding.

“From an educator’s perspective, this trip has been incredibly motivating,” Jurek said. “It’s so much fun working with these pre-vet and vet students in this setting because I remember being in their shoes! Everything I mentioned about the impact of the trip for the students is also applies to myself.

Providing exceptional care and education, mentoring students, and strengthening relationships with other members of the OSU community are all important components that lead to the achievement of the college’s mission and vision.

“I strongly encourage anyone, faculty and students, who wants to get involved in something like this to reach out,” Jurek said. “This course is a great show of collaboration and unity from OSU and I look forward to seeing how the program continues to grow and the impact it will have globally!”

Faculty or students interested in participating in this study abroad opportunity in the future can visit the course website or contact Dr. José Uscanga at [email protected] or 405-744-6580.

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