Conservation Medicine: Expanding Undergraduate Engagement Through Creative Cross-Pollination with Program Graduates

Principal Investigator: Robin Radcliffe

Department of Clinical Sciences
Sponsor: David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement
Title: Conservation Medicine: Expanding Undergraduate Engagement Through Creative Cross-Pollination with Program Graduates
Project Amount: $30,000
Project Period: January 2024 to December 2025

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

This program provides undergraduate and professional students with fi eld/community experiences in conservation medicine. Specifically, the program integrates students into the issues and challenges at the core of the preservation of species diversity through direct exposure to risks and mitigation strategies being used to protect the Indonesian Rhinoceros and the African Great Ape. It provides students with general concepts relative to species risk, but also directly engages them in addressing these problems within the necessary cultural and economic context of competing pressures between human and animal populations. As such, through direct engagement, the research represents an immersion in the concept of One Health. This concept of a more holistic approach to medicine that considers animal and environmental, as well as human health is made tangible through exposure to current threats to the survival of key species. As the greatest risk to biodiversity is posed by human activities from habitat destruction to climate change, engagement in species conservation involves understanding human behavior, zoonotic diseases, legal and ethical concepts, and political frameworks. The specific impact and benefits to students, faculty research and community partners are broad and include: For Students: • Build competency in engaged learning practice to support conservation and sustainable livelihoods, Learn research framework including study design, methodology, data analysis, grant proposal and manuscript preparation • Understand basic husbandry and management of endangered species. For Faculty/Scholarship: • Sustain and expand on conservation medicine research and curriculum that supports engaged learning activities in Africa and Indonesia • Participate in science-based research that supports policy decision-making • Grow opportunities for partners to visit Cornell University and share knowledge with faculty,students and administration For Community Partners: • Build capacity for key JGI and AleRT community members by enhancing the skills and knowledge of veterinarians, nurses, and animal care personnel • Benefit from new tools that further the One Health concept linking science, health and societal needs for animals, people and the environment •Share in Cornell’s comprehensive scientific resources including expertise in grant writing, development, research and discovery • Expand outreach to young people through student-led presentations and outreach.