Murdoch launches its commitment to a One Health agenda

December 15, 2014

Murdoch University profiled its strong teaching and research focus around a One Health agenda at a symposium on a looming public health issue, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), on December 8.

World-renowned international experts in the field attended the symposium titled Antimicrobial Resistance: Addressing the One Health Security Agenda which was held in conjunction with the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House in London on December 8.

Experts at the symposium described AMR as a One Health issue meaning it requires a collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

School Dean of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Professor David Hampson said antimicrobial resistance is widespread and now a major concern for human and animal health, as many infections have become difficult to treat and control.

“Bacteria that can cause disease have shown an unrelenting increase in resistance to antimicrobial agents and antibiotics since these substances were first used to control them around 70 years ago,” Professor Hampson said.

“Effective antimicrobials are central to many aspects of everyday healthcare, including surgery, cancer care and organ transplantation, and the threat of antimicrobial resistance is a global concern.”

AMR and other One Health issues are of particular interest for Murdoch University where there is a strong teaching and research focus on human, animal and environmental health.

“The multidisciplinary groups at Murdoch University work together on issues such as AMR using expertise in veterinary and human medicine, molecular biology, microbiology, epidemiology, bioinformatics, genomics and public health policy, amongst others, “ Professor Hampson said.

“The technical issues that are being addressed range from how to detect and monitor the extent of the resistance problem in humans and animals, how to find alternative disease control strategies that don’t require antimicrobials such as by developing and using vaccines, and how to influence public policy.”

Professor Hampson said as well as progressing research in relation to One-Health issues, Murdoch is producing students who can tackle such issues using a multidisciplinary approach.

“Through encouraging a strong interdisciplinarity in students across diverse scientific disciplines, including veterinary, nursing, biomedical, environmental, and laboratory sciences, as well as students in the areas of law, policy, media and communication, the multiple skills required to tackle the scientific, legal, political and social challenges of antimicrobial resistance are being nurtured.”

Dr Francesco Paolucci, Head of the Health Policy Program at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International  Affairs said the Graduate Certificate in Health Policy and Leadership was a prime example of the multidisciplinary approach the University fostered in its students.

“The Graduate Certificate in Health Policy and Leadership provides a conceptual, strategic and practical toolkit for current and future health care professionals and leaders,” Dr Paolucci said.

“Students gain expertise in strategic health leadership and management, healthcare policy and governance, health economics and finance, and financial management and decision making.”

For more information on the AMR Symposium visit www.murdoch.edu.au/AMR/.

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