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One Health. 2018 May 2;5:57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.onehlt.2018.05.001. eCollection 2018 Jun.

One health in our backyard: Design and evaluation of an experiential learning experience for veterinary medical students.

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The University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Veterinary Science, NSW 2006, Australia.
The University of Sydney, Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, NSW 2006, Australia.



New educational approaches are needed to improve student understanding of the wider sociological and ecological determinants of health as well as professional responsibilities in related areas. Field trips allow students to observe interaction between plant, animal and human communities, making them an ideal tool for teaching One Health concepts.


Veterinary medical students participated in a field trip to a local parklands area, frequented by humans, dogs, horses, and wildlife. Students rotated through 5 learning activities ('stations') that focused on: (1) response to exotic animal disease incursion (equine influenza); (2) impact of cultures and belief systems on professional practice; (3) management of dangerous dogs; (4) land use change, biodiversity and emerging infectious disease; and (5) management of environmentally-acquired zoonoses (botulism). Intended learning outcomes were for students to: evaluate the various roles and responsibilities of veterinarians in society; compare the benefits and risks associated with human-animal and animal-animal interactions; and evaluate the contributions made by various professionals in safeguarding the health and welfare of animals, humans and the environment. Following the field trip, students participated in a debrief exercise and completed an online survey on their experiences.


Feedback from students collected in 2016/2017 (n = 211) was overwhelmingly positive. The learning experience at each station was rated as 4 ('Good') or 5 ('Very Good') out of 5 by 82-96% of students. Responses to closed- and open-ended questions - as well as outputs generated in the debrief session - indicated that students achieved the learning outcomes. Overall, 94% of students agreed or strongly agreed that they had a better understanding of One Health because of the field trip.


Field trips to local parklands are effective in promoting learning about One Health and can be incorporated into the core curriculum to maximize student exposure at relatively low cost.


Animal behavior; CPE, Centennial Parklands Experience; CPEC, Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre; Cultural competence; DVM, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; Experiential learning; Field trip; IPE, Interprofessional Experience; MPH, Masters of Public Health; One health; Veterinary education; Zoonoses

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