I decided to start a blog after enjoying Fall 2014 basically blogging on Facebook about my experiences and frustrations related to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. (i.e., what happens when a developing world disease hits a developed world’s media during an election year and, to top it off, we all still have reptilian brains….) I spent a fair amount of time sharing and commenting on content from the web, as well as making a few observations myself. I realized this was all a bit overwhelming for my otherwise accommodating Facebook audience and so a Blog idea was born. By moving commentary here I will give FB friends a needed respite from the blood, pus, and gore of infectious diseases while still satisfying my own morbid need to communicate about these topics.
Who is the intended audience of this blog? That’s where you will help me out. I am envisioning blog posts targeting a general (though scientifically literate) audience, with add-ons and downloads that will provide more details relevant for those in medicine generally or infectious diseases in particular. Please post in the comments section (or email me) any infectious diseases topics that you are interested in hearing more about.
I need to emphasize my interest in all things One Health or Conservation Medicine. I am fascinated by the interactions shared between human health, animal (domesticated and wildlife) health, and ecosystem health.
There is a rich literature that documents the impacts that climate change, land use change, environmental degradation (water and air quality), invasive species encroachment, and habitat degradation have on the health of animals and humans. Starting with the veterinarian Calvin Schwabe who coined the term “One Medicine” there has been a rich tradition of veterinarians understanding the connection between veterinary medicine and human medicine. Ecologists, conservation biologists, and wildlife biologists have shown the interconnections between wildlife and habitats and how the protection of these also serve a utilitarian function of protecting human health.
I became aware of the field with the 2002 publication of the book Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice, which was eye opening and exciting and posed to me the challenge – “What is the role for me as a physician in this transdisciplinary field?”
In 2003, I was awarded a grant by the University of Minnesota’s Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences, “Building a Community of Scholars in Conservation Medicine.” These funds were used for a lecture series, bringing together Twin Cities researchers, educators, veterinarians, and clinicians from across the fields related to Conservation Medicine to discuss One Health topics. Out of that discussion series, rose new connections between practitioners in these respective fields.
I have continued to apply One Health precepts in my everyday practice of medicine, but have continued to look for a role that, I, as a physician, could more actively serve to enhance the connections between veterinarians, ecologists, and wildlife biologists, to the medical community. This blog is a step in that direction.
Welcome to my blog, pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee and let’s chat about infectious diseases and Conservation Medicine.