Freshmen complete learning community focused on One Health

COLLEGE STATION – A group of Texas A&M University freshmen majoring in animal science or biomedical science recently completed a semester-long learning community course focused on the concept of One Health and how various fields of study and research contribute to its objective.

One Health is a collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain sustained optimal health for humans, animals, plant and their physical environment interacting as a system, explained Dr. Matt Taylor, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science and primary instructor of the learning community.

Fourteen animal science and six biomedical sciences freshmen, selected from a pool of applicants, participated in the Spring 2013 semester. Faculty and staff from the Department of Animal Science, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, and several other departments and colleges campus-wide provided a One Health topic each week.

“Students were given first-hand exposure to multiple laboratories and programs on the Texas A&M campus that participate to enrich the lives of Texans, companion and livestock animals, and the environment in which they live,” Taylor said.


Students participating in the One Health learning community attended a One Health Issues Forum held at Texas A&M University.

Visits to facilities providing emergency veterinary response, medical imaging systems for animal and human health management, meat processing and safety, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center Simulator Laboratory, exposed students to research and teaching capacities within Texas A&M that represented core disciplines that contribute the One Health system. Additionally, students were engaged by faculty specializing in rural health, architecture, infectious diseases, and water management to broaden their understanding of the interrelationships of humans, animals and plants with their environment.

“The Department of Animal Science played an integral cooperative role with the Texas A&M University One Health program in executing the learning community,” Taylor added.

In addition to Taylor, faculty from the department who contributed expert teaching to the learning community participants in differing venues included Dr. Jeff Savell, meat science, Dr. Tom Welsh and Dr. Kathrin Dunlap, reproductive physiology, and Dr. Russell Cross, department head.

The learning community represents only one component of the Department of Animal Science’s operation within the One Health system at Texas A&M. Other research and outreach components are under development or already in existence.

The next learning community will take place during the Spring 2014 semester and is being designed to incorporate students from additional disciplines on campus that will allow participants to further understand how the animal sciences interact with other fields of academic and professional study to meet the ever-changing needs of society.


For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at or (979) 845-1542.


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