Panel discussion challenges traditional approach to health care

By in News

On Jan. 17, the University of Saskatchewan One Health Leadership Experience and One Health Club will host their first panel discussion in the 2018 winter series, Bringing One Health to Life, with a focus on community health care.

The One Health concept is a global initiative that aims to expand interdisciplinary collaboration and communication in all aspects of health care. This month’s panel discussion will include faculty members from the College of Dentistry, the School of Public Health and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

One Health encourages collaborative efforts from different disciplines, locally, nationally and globally, to achieve the optimal health for not only people but also animals and the environment.

Cassy Andrew, a third-year veterinary medicine student and an executive member of the OHC, explains the importance of interdisciplinary work when approaching health.

“One Health is kind of a strategy and philosophy, [to] my mind, to bring different disciplines together in order to solve complex problems associated with health, and I think, also broader problems like sustainability and climate change and socioeconomic inequality,” Andrew said.

The title for the upcoming discussion is “Pushing the boundaries of community health care.” It will be one of three panel discussions presented by the OHLE planning committee and the OHC. The event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Choices, located in St. Thomas More College.

The panelists include Douglas Brothwell, dean of the College of Dentistry, Steven Jones, executive director of the SPH, and Douglas Freeman, dean of the WCVM. Andrew explains that the panelists were selected based on their efforts in collaborative work and their focus on working with communities.

“These [panelists] have lots of experience in forming and maintaining interdisciplinary teams on pretty broad scales, and they have experience being leaders in their professions,” Andrew said. “They also have experience just generally trying to provide better access to health care to under-served communities.”

Andrew explains that the panel discussion will provide potential opportunities for interconnectedness between the colleges of dentistry, public health and veterinary medicine.

“For example, in human medicine, dentistry is very separate, whereas in veterinary medicine, dentistry is actually a part of our learning and our medical process, so maybe [we can] try talking about some [of the] differences there and how we can better bridge those gaps in human medicine,” Andrew said.

The organizers encourage interested students to RSVP for the event on the U of S website by Jan. 12. Andrew says that additional panel discussions will be held in February and March, and the OHC can be contacted at or on Facebook.

Food will be provided from 5 to 5:30 p.m., so students will have the opportunity to socialize with those in other fields of study before the panel discussion. Andrew explains that the panel-discussion series intends to inspire students from various disciplines to connect with one another through One Health.

“What we’re trying to do is just form a continuous network for students from all different colleges across campus — whether it’s your traditional health colleges or not — to continue to network and continue to pick each others’ brains,” Andrew said.

Andrew notes that the more problems students consider, and the more interdisciplinary colleagues they meet, the more they realize that everything is connected, hence the term “One Health.”

“The phrase ‘One Health’ still seems a little bit exclusive, but I really think that health is just the epitome of wellness in general, and there’s so many components playing into that in so many professions,” Andrew said. “I think it’s important, in that way, to continue to provide exposure for folks to see that everyone can be involved in the One Health concept and [everyone] has a role to play.”

Jaline Broqueza

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor