Education to Protect Animal Health in a Changing Climate

Will Sander, Colleen Duncan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Our ability to protect the health of animals, now and in the future, depends on an educated and empowered animal health community. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that the topic of climate change has been broadly or consistently taught in animal health programs. In this chapter, we explore, using veterinary medicine as an example, how education on climate change could be refined to better prepare students to address current and future animal health threats. Recommendations are aligned with the 2020 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) framework “Strengthening Sustainability Programs and Curricula at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels, " which emphasized three key areas for development. First is to generally strengthen sustainability within existing programs. For those involved in the protection and promotion of animal health, this goal can be achieved by emphasizing the overlap between competency domains in animal health and sustainability. Second, there is a need to develop a sustainability workforce. To do this, educational programs must prioritize experiential learning in which students are actively engaged in addressing sustainability issues at all levels. These experiential-learning initiatives demand enhanced collaboration between institutions and the broader animal health community. Finally, it is time to build the academic environment such that institutions are prepared to meet the growing need for sustainability education. This idea involves bridging interdisciplinary silos, prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, securing funds to work in this space, and continually assessing programs. Educational programs have the tools in place, the recognized need by faculty and students, and the societal need to incorporate climate change and sustainability into all animal health curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate Change and Animal Health
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000773804
ISBN (Print)9780367712020
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Veterinary
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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