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International Veterinary Training Program

  • A giant panda leaning over a tree branch

The Global Health Program is committed to enhancing the One Health knowledge and scientific resources of developing nations. GHP trains veterinarians, public health professionals, and other stakeholders at the human-wildlife interface in order to improve access to and engagement in modern One Health techniques. Training topics include infectious disease surveillance strategy and response implementation. Veterinarians from GHP apply extensive expertise gained in captive animal care at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to the health and sustainability of wildlife populations around the world. GHP is also dedicated to integrating multimodal diagnostics and veterinary pathology into disease prevention and conservation.

Ethiopia: Filoha Field Site, Awash National Park

The Filoha Hamadryas Project studies the behavioral biology and socioecology of wild hamadryas baboons and is coordinated by Larissa Swedell. Based at the Filoha outpost in the far north of the Awash National Park in central Ethiopia, this project is conducted in collaboration with the Awash National Park Baboon Research Project, the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, Addis Ababa University, and Columbia University.

China: Dujianyan, Sichuan Province

China has a wealth of biodiversity and a growing dedication to the preservation of ecological resources, particularly those related to saving its iconic giant panda.  The goals of this four-day course were to develop strategies and impart skills for China’s conservation goals.  During training, GHP and other Smithsonian veterinarians guided the development of a short-term and a long-term plan for China’s Wildlife Disease Control Center, identifying priorities and resource needs for a world-class diagnostic center.  The “practical laboratories” segment of the course imparted knowledge, tools and technologies to address diseases of giant pandas in China. Additional discussion sessions focused on identifying training needs to build veterinary, diagnostic and research capacity in China to prevent, identify, monitor, control and study giant panda diseases in China.

Vietnam: Hanoi University of Agriculture, Hanoi

The objective of this five-day workshop was to use the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute expertise to deliver basic pathology training with an emphasis on wildlife zoonoses and field techniques relevant for PREDICT personnel and partners.  Four veterinarians from the Global Health Program (formerly Smithsonian Wildlife Health), the Smithsonian Department of Pathology, and the University of Illinois served as the main trainers.  Wildlife Conservation Society field veterinarians and their associates from the region also participated and assisted with training along with helping to provide program coordination and logistic support.