Chad A. Weddell, DVM, MPH
DrPH student, USF College of Public Health, Department of Global Health attended One Health Geographic Information Systems (GIS) International Conference: A Collaboration between University of South Florida and University of San Francisco, Quito November 10-15, 2013 in Quito, Ecuador. The following is his trip summary:
A week-long One Health workshop was held in Quito, Ecuador and represented a major collaboration in global health between the University of South Florida and the University of San Francisco Quito. Dr. Benjamin Jacob, and Dr. Miguel Reina provided exceptional instruction to attendees on advanced GIS techniques and use of remote sensing imagery. The workshop was complemented with nightly seminar sessions taught by USF professors Dr. Benjamin Jacob and Dr. Ricardo Izurieta. Additionally, many Ecuadorian guest speakers from academia and industry instructed on GIS, community and global health issues. Attendees of the workshop included USF students and attendees from various sectors in Ecuador including the Ministry of Health, military, academia, and civil engineering. The diversity of knowledge and experience greatly enriched the learning experience. The workshop portion contained daily lecture reinforced by daily laboratory sessions with hands-on application. Various concepts and applications covered included GIS fundamentals, Land Use Land Cover, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Krigging, and regression analysis.
During this trip, doctoral students were able to further develop their research ideas through meetings with health officials of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health and USFQ health faculty. This information sharing and dialogue enhanced understanding of regional conditions and greatly advanced each student’s area of research. For instance, my research will focus on leptospirosis in Ecuador. Dr. Izurieta organized a meeting with Dr. Gabriel Trueba, Professor at USFQ and a leading expert in leptospirosis research in Ecuador, to discuss ideas related to my planned research for my dissertation involving spatial analysis of leptospirosis in Ecuador. Dr. Trueba’s feedback was instrumental in enhancing my understanding about the organism and leptospirosis patterns in Ecuador, and it will undoubtedly improve the quality of my future planned studies for the DrPH program. Future events of this nature are highly recommended to promote collaborative research where we pool not only resources, but in the spirit of the One Health concept, we pool collective knowledge and expertise to optimize resources and ultimately health outcomes. Additionally, a student exchange program between USF and USF-Q would greatly enhance global health research opportunities for both universities.