Providence, R.I. - More than 200 physicians and veterinarians gathered to share ideas, improve knowledge and open communication lines about zoonotic and vector diseases at the state's first joint conference.
Providence, R.I. — More than 200 physicians and veterinarians gathered to share ideas, improve knowledge and open communication lines about zoonotic and vector diseases at the state's first joint conference.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with our human (medicine) colleagues. I think it is a relationship builder," says Cathy Lund, DVM and former president of the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association (RIVMA), event sponsor with Coastal Medical, Providence, R.I.
"We thought, 'What a need there is in the medical community to learn about zoonotic diseases, what to expect when you have a sick pet and how diseases can best be prevented,'" Lund says of her brainstorming with two other key event organizers: Courtney Rebensdorf, DVM, practice owner and another former RIVMA president, and Peter Karczmar, an MD focused on critical care and internal medicine and Lund's husband.
"Pets, People and Pathogens" speakers and sessions focused on animal bites and disease prevention, including rabies, enteric parasite diseases, vector-borne diseases and risks to immunocompromised individuals and animals.
"It was take-home information, and it was great to see people trading ideas," Lund says. "Anything that helps with collaborative work is to the betterment of both professions."
Supporting the "One Health" initiative backed by a partnership between the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Medical Association, the Dec. 4 conference included speakers Byron Blagburn, PhD, Auburn University parasitologist and president of the Companion Animal Parasite Council; Richard Glew, MD and infectious disease specialist at the University of Massachussetts Medical Center; and Michael Lappin, DVM and Colorado State University parasitologist. Stephen Zinner, MD and chairman of the Harvard Department of Medicine, served as moderator.
"In the past, veterinarians have been hesitant because of a perceived lack of interest on the human side," says Lund of why a joint conference hadn't been organized sooner. "We've shown there is a real audience for this type of seminar."