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November 01, 2020

One-health lessons for children created by veterinarian

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A new website provides one-health lessons for children as well as adults so they can understand the inextricable connection between human health and the health of animals and the environment. The online lessons are divided into categories broken down by age groups—starting at 6 to 8 years and going up to 18 and older—and by language, such as French, Italian, and Kannada, a language spoken in India.

Dr. Thomson with students in the classroom
Dr. Deborah Thomson teaches 6- and 7-year-old students in summer 2019 about one health and zoonotic diseases. (Courtesy of Dr. Thomson)

Dr. Deborah Thomson developed the website and lessons. She previously served as the 2019-20 AVMA fellow with Congress, where she was placed as a full-time staff member in the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. There, she used her scientific expertise to advise on animal health and welfare, antimicrobial resistance, global health, public health, pandemic response and prevention, climate change, and water policies.

Dr. Thomson created multiple online, interactive COVID-19 lessons to alleviate anxiety over the pandemic by providing an understanding of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and how the virus relates to one health. These lessons teach students where SARS-CoV-2 most likely came from, how to protect themselves, what scientists are doing today to protect public safety in the future, the role of vaccines, and how experts working in human, animal, and environmental health are collaborating. The lessons also come with a webinar giving tips and reasons for teaching the COVID-19 lessons to various age groups.

Three more lessons will soon be available on one-health topics relating to water, food, and ticks and mosquitoes.

Dr. Thomson is organizing over 300 individuals around the world who are translating and promoting these age-appropriate COVID-19 online lessons into more than 50 languages. The lessons can also be printed for students who do not have reliable internet access.

Volunteers are needed to share their own one-health journeys on the website’s blog, participate in a global arts and musical event in celebration of One Health Day on Nov. 3, contribute to the One Health Lessons channel on YouTube, and promote the lessons in local communities. To participate, email OneHealthLessonsatgmail [dot] com (OneHealthLessons[at]gmail[dot]com).