College News

MIT professor to speak about One Health Commission at Zoonotic Disease Symposium


zoonotic Symposium focuses on Environmental Health and Emerging Zoonoses – an increasingly important health topic
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University will be hosting the second annual Zoonotic Symposium on March 5-7, 2010. The symposium is organized by Cornell students at the College of Veterinary Medicine and is open to students enrolled in various health professional programs at the graduate and undergraduate level. Dr. James Fox, Director and Professor in the Division of Comparative Medicine and Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will offer the keynote address entitled “One Health Commission: Impacts in Human, Animal, and Ecosystem Health.”
Dr. James Fox is also an adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and was elected to the Institute Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. He is an elected official of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the author of over 490 articles, 80 chapters, 4 patents, and has edited and authored 13 texts. Dr. Fox has been studying infectious disease of the gastrointestinal tract for over 35 years, focusing on the pathogenesis of Campylobacter and Helicobacter species in humans and animals, and is considered an international authority on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of enterohepatic helicobacters.
“When ecosystems become damaged—by human intervention, global climate change, or other impacts to ecosystem health—there may be more potential for the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases, said Kylius Wilkins, vice president of the College’s Veterinary Public Health Association and chair of the symposium. "The recent emergence of diseases such as SARS and Nipah [a zoonotic virus that has caused disease in animals and in humans through contact with infectious animals like certain species of the fruit bats], as well as the recent novel H1N1 influenza pandemic highlight the importance of understanding the human-animal interactions that lead to the spread of zoonotic disease, and the steps required for the control and prevention of zoonotic diseases. One of our goals is to foster communication between medical communities that will form the basis for ongoing dialogue between tomorrow’s professionals, those who will be in the best position to control and prevent zoonotic outbreaks.”
The symposium will be open to students currently obtaining their doctor of veterinary medicine, doctor of medicine, nursing and master of public health degrees, as well as undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing medical and public health studies.

“We are excited to provide this unique opportunity to students to collaborate with their peers in the health sciences,” said Dr. Alfonso Torres, Associate Dean for Public Policy at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Torres also advises the College’s Veterinary Public Health Association, the student group organizing the event. “Despite a common goal of preventing zoonotic diseases that universally affect patients of all medical professions, both animal and human, there lacks any sort of formal communication and gathering of veterinarians, doctors, nurses, and public health workers that allows for sharing of information on these diseases. Students should come out of the weekend with both a better understanding of diseases shared by humans and animals, and with an appreciation for the necessity of partnerships between all health professionals in preventing and treating zoonoses and handling disease outbreaks.”
For more information or to register for the symposium, please visit