One Health vision inspires veterinary medicine at City University of Hong Kong

Concerns over the public health posed by zoonotic diseases and food safety have prompted City University of Hong Kong to establish Hong Kong’s first and only college for veterinary medicine.

August 27, 2018
 

Emerging zoonotic diseases and food safety are two major public health threats. Incredibly, around 75% of new diseases that have impacted the lives of human over the past decade originate from animals, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health, and tainted food stocks have the potential to cause multiple deaths if unmonitored.

Human societies cannot escape the repercussions if we fail to tackle these health issues.

A new centre of excellence for veterinary medicine in Asia serves as a direct response to these concerns. The Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is training a new generation of veterinary specialists equipped to combat the spread of zoonotic diseases and allay fears over food security.

The ethos of the College is based around the idea of One Health, i.e. the idea that the health of humans, other creatures and the environment is interconnected and ought to be viewed and treated holistically.

The College has taken a decade to set up. The idea was initially rebuffed in some quarters, but steadily the huge benefits of setting up a major centre of excellence for veterinary medicine became more apparent and began to draw greater interest.

CityU has been working with its Ivy League partner, Cornell University, one of the top training and research destinations in veterinary medicine in the world, ensuring that the College will achieve and maintain excellence. A strong commitment to core ideas and beliefs as well as persistence have paid off.

Professor Way Kuo, CityU President, first floated the proposal for a veterinary school in July 2008 shortly after he took over in his leadership role.

“It has been my honour and privilege to lead CityU’s 10 year-long veterinary marathon. This could not have happened without the vision, team work and perseverance of the campus community and the staunch support of Hong Kong society,” he said.

CityU now has the support of the Hong Kong government for its pioneering undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (the Trust), generous donors and the community-at-large have donated millions of dollars to support their mission.

 

 

A great deal of work is underway to develop the College into Asia’s premier destination for would-be veterinarians and established scholars in related fields. CityU is using a HK$500 million donation from the Trust to construct the Jockey Club One Health Tower, which will house the necessary facilities and learning and research space; and the University has acquired the prestigious local Peace Avenue Veterinary Clinic in Hong Kong and a farmland in the New Territories, Hong Kong for the purpose of setting up a dairy farm.

The College comprises the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Infectious Diseases and Public Health. Guided by One Health core principles, the College is helping CityU to pioneer excellence in veterinary education and research in Hong Kong, Asia and the world, spotlighting public health, food safety, animal welfare and aquatic animal health for the well-being of society.

 

 

 

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