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2020 (No. 1) – COVID-19 Special Edition

AHEAD Update

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

We hope you find this special edition of the AHEAD Update useful, and that you are keeping safe in this unprecedented time.

Preventing the Next Pandemic:
We Can Make This a 'Never Again' Moment

I wanted to share some perspectives from my colleagues and I related to the pandemic crisis we find ourselves immersed in. I have spent my career trying to think of ways to enhance our species' respect and concern for the rest of life on Earth. Perhaps a tiny, invisible virus will be what actually tips the scale towards a critical mass of global understanding of the fact that our own health is intimately tied to how we treat the natural world. I provided the essay Preventing the Next Pandemic: We Can Make This a 'Never Again' Moment to The Times of India at their invitation, which I very much appreciated, only learning later that it is the largest English language daily in the world - one that reaches audiences we don't necessarily regularly access. In addition, I have provided a link to a podcast interview that gave me more time to delve into some of the nuances related to wildlife as a food source that I could not cover in the 800 word essay.

All my best in these less-than-best times, Steve

Other New Resources

The Wildlife Origins of SARS-COV2 and the Importance of a One Health Lens.
Podcast

Steve Osofsky shares his views on steps we must take to greatly decrease the chances of future pandemics.

Epidemiologists Have Been Warning of a Coronavirus Outbreak for Years.
Business Insider

The COVID-19 crisis serves as a wake-up call to the fact that there is much we can actually do to prevent pandemics.

Cornell Experts View Coronavirus via Multidisciplinary Lenses.
Cornell Chronicle

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted lives and institutions around the world in numerous ways, and Cornell faculty members have of course been available to share their expertise.

Cornell Helps Diagnose COVID-19 in a Bronx Zoo Tiger.
WCS Newsroom

The Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine conducted initial COVID-19 testing of samples from a Bronx Zoo tiger. It is believed to be the first known case of an animal infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. and the first tiger worldwide.

Cornell Experts Discuss State of Pandemic.
Cornell Chronicle

Cornell experts discuss COVID-19's origins and its impact on the global economy. MPH Program Director Dr. Alex Travis states "if COVID-19 teaches us anything, it's that we can't afford not to pay attention to how we interact with the environment."

If you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let us know - thanks.

Steve & Shirley

Steve Osofsky, DVM
Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
Jay Hyman Professor of Wildlife Health & Health Policy
AHEAD Program Coordinator
s.osofsky@cornell.edu

Shirley Atkinson, MSc
Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
Assistant Director, Wildlife Health & Health Policy
AHEAD Regional Coordinator
s.atkinson@cornell.edu

What is AHEAD?

AHEAD works to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders and provide technical support and resources for projects locally identified as priorities. AHEAD, one of the first applied One Health programs, recognizes the need to look at health, disease, and the environment together, while always taking a given region's socioeconomic, political, and policy context into account.

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Beauty and the Beef
AHEAD Book
AHEAD book
Osofsky, S.A., Cleaveland, S., Karesh, W.B., Kock, M.D., Nyhus, P.J., Starr, L., and A. Yang, (eds.). 2005. Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xxxiii and 220 pp.

Downloadable PDFs of whole book/each section available by visiting the AHEAD Launch Proceedings page. Hard copies can be ordered by e-mailing books@iucn.org
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What is AHEAD?

Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched at the 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. By assembling a ‘dream team’ of veterinarians, ecologists, biologists, social and economic scientists, agriculturists, wildlife managers, public health specialists and others from across East and southern Africa, we were fortunate to have tapped into some of the most innovative conservation and development thinking on the African continent- and AHEAD was born. Since then, a range of programs addressing conservation, health, and concomitant development challenges have been launched with the support of a growing list of implementing partners and donors who see the intrinsic value of the One World, One Health approach.

AHEAD is a convening, facilitative mechanism, working to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders, help delineate conceptual frameworks to underpin planning, management and research, and provide technical support and resources for projects stakeholders identify as priorities. AHEAD recognizes the need to look at health and disease not in isolation but within a given region's socioeconomic and environmental context.

In short, AHEAD recognizes the importance of animal and human health to both conservation and development interests. Around the world, domestic and wild animals are coming into ever-more-intimate contact, and without adequate scientific knowledge and planning, the consequences can be detrimental on one or both sides of the proverbial fence. But armed with the tools that the health sciences provide, conservation and development objectives have a much greater chance of being realized – particularly at the critical wildlife/livestock interface, where conservation and agricultural interests meet head-on. AHEAD efforts focus on several themes of critical importance to the future of animal agriculture, human health, and wildlife health (including zoonoses, competition over grazing and water resources, disease mitigation, local and global food security, and other potential sources of conflict related to land-use decision-making in the face of resource limitations). Historically, neither governments, nongovernmental organizations, the aid community, nor academia have holistically addressed the landscape-level nexus represented by the triangle of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health and livelihoods as underpinned by environmental stewardship.

 

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