More than 40 high school students gathered on August 16 for an interactive One Health Career Exploration Day to learn about the connection between human, animal, and environmental health. The event was led by representatives from the Vector-borne & Zoonotic Disease Program and Food Safety Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Arizona Department of Agriculture, and Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The event featured four main modules and educational booths for the participants. The first module, “Love your Pets, Not the Germs”, addressed different ways diseases are spread from animals to people. Participants were given a series of photos to match the mode of spread and then were asked to identify steps that prevent illness, and keep people and pets healthy.

“Health and Safety at the Farm” focused on how diseases could spread in a farm setting, the importance of biosecurity, and personal protective equipment used by veterinarians to help prevent the spread of disease between animals and ending up in human food sources.

“Environmental Health, Food Safety, and You”, exposed the participants to food safety, and how food products can be kept disease free from farm to table. Participants also learned about environmental chemicals that can get into the body, as well as ways to reduce exposure to those chemicals. Lastly, participants discussed activities performed by a local and state health department during a public health crisis, specifically a potential exposures of rabies in the “Tale of the Rabid Kitten” module.

Participants explored future career opportunities, through their interactions with professionals who work in public health, animal health, veterinary medicine, wildlife health, environmental health, animal agriculture, and food safety. Students learned about the role they play in protecting health, preventing illness, and promoting One Health, as well as how all the partners work together to achieve One Health in Arizona. The event was a huge success, and we thank all those who made it happen.