Special Sessions

by | Mar 1, 2024

Teaching Veterinary Epidemiology – Integration Or Disguise?

Jenny-Ann Toribio
Naomi Cogger

A brief description of the session theme and objectives 

Epidemiology is a component of veterinary curricula globally with content coverage informed by the requirements of accreditation bodies. Yet, it can be challenging to engage veterinary students for reasons such as perceived lack of relevance to future professional work. This special session will reflect on the impact of this challenge on teachers of veterinary epidemiology – it can be a bit of a lonely place – before shining a light on the way forward. We will provide guidance on the essential epidemiological concepts and skills for veterinary graduates and effective ways to equip veterinary students with these skills in high-resource and
low-resource settings, including embedding application in the clinic. Further, we will discuss avenues to support and inspire our teaching such as teaching resource repository/s, training programs and mentoring.
This special session is a follow-on from a ISVEE16 special session and is a response to the resolve of most session participants not to “give up on teaching epidemiology to veterinary
students”. Instead, participants stated the need for specific day one competencies and for sharing about teaching methods that involve students in the real-world/clinical application of
these competencies, along with means by which to share proven, effective teaching resources among teachers. 

List of potential speakers or contributors 

Marcus Doherr https://www.vetmed.fuberlin.de/en/einrichtungen/institute/we16/mitarbeiter/doherr-marcus-g/index.html
Naomi Cogger https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/expertise/profile.cfm?stref=058830
Jenny-Ann Toribio https://www.sydney.edu.au/science/about/our-people/academicstaff/jenny-ann-toribio.htmlIngrid Toftaker https://www.nmbu.no/en/about/employees/ingrid-toftaker
Marnie Brennan https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/people/marnie.brennan
Lisa Morrow https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/people/lisa.morrow
Victoria Brookes https://www.sydney.edu.au/science/about/our-people/academicstaff/victoria-brookes.html
Brandy Burgess https://vet.uga.edu/person/foodanimal-people-burgess/
Charles Caraguel https://researchers.adelaide.edu.au/profile/charles.caraguel
Ane Nødtvedt https://www.nmbu.no/en/about/employees/ane-c-w-nodtvedt
Ian Dohoo https://islandscholar.ca/people/dohoo


From Science To Policy: Walking The Path From Research To Action

Silvia Alonso

A brief description of the session theme and objectives 

Research expands the knowledge horizon of humanity – every discovery opens a new and wider space of inquiry. One question leads to another, and most research concludes with a plea for further investigation. But, ultimately, science aspires to provide answers and bring about change. Research should guide, among others, countries’ practices and policies. Research findings should be used to guide policy decisions and research should be ready to respond to

policy questions. However, the science to policy pathway is not always straightforward. Science and policy engagement is often a lengthy and twisted process for various reasons: research may not be addressing relevant policy questions; the research cycle does not always align with the faster-paced policy processes; policy decision making is a trade-off art where evidence does not always win. This reality discourages scientists, who hesitate to step into the

policy space. This special session will shine a light on the dos and don’ts of science engaging in policy processes, by listening and reflecting upon real life experiences from scientists throughout the world. If you are a scientist wanting to influence policy or looking for advice on how to improve your engagement in policy, this special session is for you.

List of potential speakers or contributors and webpages describing them

  • Hung Nguyen (Vietnam), International Livestock Research Institute
  • Siobhan Mor (Australia) University of Liverpool
  • Silvia Alonso (Spain) International Livestock Research Institute
  • Kebede Amenu (Ethiopia), International Livestock Research Institute
  • Salome Durr (Switzerland) Veterinary Public health Institute
  • Florence Mutua (Kenya) International Livestock Research Institute
  • Delia Grace (Ireland) Natural Resource Institute

Proposed format and schedule for the session

Speakers will have 10 minutes to briefly present one concrete example of their research that influenced policy or that is currently engaging with the policy process. Presentations will place emphasis on the aspects that were critical to the success or failure of the process, with the aim of collating a list of dos and don’ts, for scientists to enhance the success of their engagement in policy or increase the likelihood of their science to inform policy. The session will provide insights to scientists who are findings themselves wanting for their science to enter the policy space.

Use Of Citizen Science In Veterinary Research

 oerg Henning- University of Queensland.
Mark Stevenson- University of Melbourne

A brief description of the session theme and objectives 

Citizen science describes the formalized public participation in scientific inquiry and research. Citizen science has flourished in recent years due the public’s increased interest in participatory science and a better access to communication and data collection technology, while data collection by members of the public is also being encouraged by researchers due to their need for large-scale datasets. Thus, citizen science projects are increasing in numbers, but volunteer participation in scientific research poses considerable challenges, such as quality assurance, selection and misclassification biases. Citizen science data is being used across disciplines of veterinary research, for example to determine the distribution or the health status of wildlife species, to study the behaviours of dogs, to estimate the abundance of stray cats or to conduct vector surveillance associated with animal hosts.

The objectives of this session are to:

  1. To provide an overview of applications of citizen science in veterinary research, including opportunities and challenges in collecting, analysing and interpreting such data
  2. To discuss approaches and methodologies to address biases associated with citizen science data

List of potential speakers or contributors and webpages describing them

Rick Bonney is the former director of public engagement in science at Cornell Lab of Ornithology. His work focuses on evaluating impacts of citizen-science programs. https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/staff/rick-bonney/

Erika Machtinger is a veterinary entomologist investigating ecological relationships between vertebrates and their ectoparasites with the use of citizen science data. https://ento.psu.edu/directory/etm10

Julie Hecht, from the Department of Psychology, University of New York, researches behavior of companion animals by engaging with animal lovers through citizen science. https://newmedialab.cuny.edu/person/julie-hecht/

Jenni McDonald is a feline epidemiologist from Bristol Veterinary School who conducted research on free‐roaming cat populations and their data biases for developing abundance models. https://theconversation.com/profiles/jennifer-mcdonald-1284692

Proposed format and schedule for the session 

The proposed format of this session would include an introductory keynote address by a renowned expert in the field of citizen science (such a Rick Bonney) for about 30 minutes. This will be followed by 15-20 minutes presentations focused on the two objectives listed above (about 6). Finally, a panel discussion with the keynote speaker and invited 2-3 additional speakers for about 30 minutes will conclude this session. Thus, the total session duration will be about 4 hours.

Global Burden Of Animal Diseases: The Great Debate

Mieghan Bruce- Murdoch University
Jonathan Rushton- Liverpool University

A brief description of the session theme and objectives 

A consistent and comparative estimation of the burden of diseases and injuries is an important basis to animal health decision-making and planning processes. A framework for integrating, validating, analysing and disseminating such information is required. The Global Burden of Animal Diseases has proposed such a framework and now it’s time to critique and refine the approach. The disability-adjusted life year for humans is well established; the concept of ‘perfect health’ a disability weight of 0, but we do not have an equivalent for production animals. Thus, some tricky problems are open for debate. First, animals are kept in different systems without a well-defined method for classifying them. Second, who sets the bar for ‘benchmarking’? Third, animal health economists typically use monetary value to enable comparisons between diseases and to choose between interventions. But prices are dynamic, how do we compare through time and over geographies? The aim of this session is for invited speakers to present ‘oral essays’ on these issues, open the floor to hear from others, then stage an Oxford-style debate. It is anticipated that the finest scientists will air their ideas; a consensus is unlikely but we will all learn a lot.

List of potential speakers or contributors and webpages describing them

Dominic Smith https://experts.griffith.edu.au/28244-dominic-smith

Susan Noor https://appertani.org/?page_id=1146&lang=en

Wudu Jemberu Temesgen

Dianne Mayberry https://people.csiro.au/M/D/Dianne-Mayberry

Violeta Munoz https://www.vetepi.uzh.ch/en/aboutus/staff/vmuno.html

Carlotta di Bari https://www.sciensano.be/en/people/carlotta-di-bari

Deborah Stacey https://www.uoguelph.ca/computing/people/deborah-stacey

Thomas Marsh https://people.ses.wsu.edu/marsh/

Proposed format and schedule for the session

The session starts with ‘spoken essays’ presenting big ideas on tricky concepts in the economics of animal health. Three topics, 2 speakers presenting differing views for each topic. 8 minutes each plus discussion [60 minutes]
1. Classifying production systems – all animals are equal or are some more equal than others?
2. Establishing a benchmark – what is a ‘top’ producer?
3. Prices – they rise and fall so how do we compare?
4. speakers from general abstract submission process [45minutes]

The session concludes with an Oxford-style debate – 6 speakers. The motion: “All animals need ‘ideal’ health” [45 minutes

Epidemiological Tools To Support African Swine Fever Prevention and Control.

Andres Perez

A brief description of the session\’s theme and objectives

Arguably, African swine fever (ASF) has been one of the most important emerging threats affecting the global food animal industry over recent years. Much knowledge has been gained in ASF-positive countries about controlling the disease, and many measures have been taken in ASF-free countries to prepare for hypothetical incursions. Veterinary epidemiology plays a key role in supporting the design and implementation of science-based solutions to those emerging needs, contributing with methods, approaches, and ideas. Although the use of veterinary epidemiology to support ASF policy and regulations has certainly increased globally, there is still a need and opportunity to promote its use and application by countries and industries. Similarly, swine veterinarians and producers need detailed, practical knowledge and protocols to enhance response and preparedness for ASF epidemics. The objective of this session is to facilitate a discussion between veterinary epidemiologists, practitioners and policymakers to promote the application of epidemiological tools and approaches to facilitate disease prevention, control, and mitigation of impact. This knowledge transfer and exchange of perspectives will contribute to the generation of ideas for projects and activities with the ultimate objective of supporting disease prevention, control and continuity of business during disease incursions. There will be five presentations, dedicated to share perspectives on challenges and opportunities for epidemiology to support disease control in infected countries and free countries, and present results of applied epidemiology research and perspectives, respectively. Presentations, which will be delivered by a mixture of practitioners, academicians, and policy makers, will be followed by a roundtable discussion intended to explore the use and application of epidemiology tools and approach to support ASF control and continuity of business in the face of an ASF outbreak. Audience will be invited to introduce questions and comments into the conversation, to facilitate the dialogue.

Moderator: Dr. Andres Perez, University of Minnesota

  • Doctor Montenegro, University of the Philippines
  • Dr Nguyen Thi Diep, Vietnam National University of Agriculture.
  • Dr. Roche, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • Dr. Kari Coulson, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 
  • Dr. Rachel Schambow, University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS).
  • Dr. Solenne Costard, EpiX Analytics

Proposed format and schedule for the session  

Brief (~10 min) presentations from speakers (n=6-8) will be followed by a roundtable discussion in which speakers will ask and answer questions between and among themselves, with support from the moderator, to engage in a dialogue intended to explore the use and application of epidemiology tools and approach to support ASF control and continuity of business in the face of an ASF outbreak. Audience will be invited to introduce questions and comments into the conversation, to facilitate the dialogue.

Advocacy Decision-support Tools For Controlling Animal Diseases, Improving Animal Health And Production

Bouda Vosough Ahmadi
Thanawat Tiensin1, Madhur Dhingra1, Damian Tagopacheco, Melissa McLaws and Andriy Rozstalnyy1

A brief description of the session theme and objectives

  • Rationale
  • Effective decision-making is vital for controlling animal diseases, enhancing animal health, and optimizing animal production. This special session aims to explore the role of advocacy and decision-support tools in achieving these critical objectives. Particular focus will be given the tools developed and utilized by the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO).


The session will provide a platform for experts, researchers, and practitioners to present and have an in-depth discussion on advocacy decision-support tools that have proven successful in the field of veterinary epidemiology and economics. These tools encompass a range of approaches, including socioeconomic decision-support tools and models, impact-assessment models, simulation models, risk assessment and policy analysis frameworks, all tailored to the challenges of controlling animal diseases and improving animal health and production.

List of potential speakers or contributors and webpages describing them

  • Dr Thanawat THIENSIN (NSA Director, FAO) will be the chair of the session and will provide the opening remarks.
  • Mr Madhur DHINGRA (Senior Animal Health Officer, FAO)
  • Mr Damian TAGO (Economist, FAO)
  • Mr Bouda VOSOUGH AHMADI (GF-TADs coordinator, FAO)
  • Dr Melissa MCLAWS (Veterinary Epidemiologist, Co-chair of the GF-TADs FMD Working Group, FAO)
  • Dr Andriy ROZSTALNYY (Senior Animal Health Officer, FAO)

More information about the presenter team can be found in the webpage below:


Proposed format and schedule for the session

The meeting starts with the opening remarks by the chair Dr Tiensin who will provide a background to this session, the importance, and the roles of decision-support tools for advocacy purpose of control of animal diseases. This will be followed by four thematic presentations.

  • Introduction and opening remarks (15 minutes)
  • Damian TAGO: “Socioeconomic & Impact-Assessment tools for Disease Control, e.g.,

    OutCost” (20’)

  • Bouda AHMADI and Andriy ROZSTALNYY: “Advocacy and Policy Analysis: e.g.,

    of compensation Mechanisms” (20’)

  • Coffee Break and Networking (15 minutes)
  • Melissa MCLAWS: “Risk Assessment and Mitigation” (20’)
  • Madhur DHINGRA: “Success Stories in Disease Control Advocacy” (20’)
  • Panel Discussion, Q&A Session and conclusios (30 minutes
Training The One Health Epidemiology Workforce In The Post-pandemic Era

Stacie Dunkle
Barbara Alessandrini, Navneet Dhand, Julio Pinto, Heather Simmons and Marion Muehlen

  1.  World Health Organization
  2. World Organisation for Animal Health 
  3. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

A brief description of the session theme and objectives 

The One Health approach recognizes the interconnectedness of human health, animal health, and the environment and the need for collaborative, holistic solutions to tackle emerging health challenges. Establishing a well-trained workforce in One Health field epidemiology is essential to operationalise and implement this approach for disease surveillance, epidemiological investigations, and emergency preparedness and response. However, until recently, there were no internationally recognized One Health competencies for field epidemiologists. Recognizing this gap, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) collaborated to develop the Competencies for One Health Field Epidemiology (COHFE) framework. This framework comprises competency statements that outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for field epidemiologists to effectively apply the One Health approach across the human, animal, and environmental health sectors. These competencies are categorized into three levels of training: frontline, intermediate, and advanced. We propose this session to (a) discuss the collaborative approach adopted for developing these competencies, (b) present high-level competencies and the associated guidance documents on mentorship, evaluation, certification and continuing education, and (c) discuss how countries and regions could use the COHFE framework to train the One Health workforce.

List of potential speakers or contributors 

  • Marion Muehlen 
  • Julio Pinto
  • Barbara Alessandrini
  • Stacie Elizabeth Dunkle
  • Heather L. Simmons

  • Navneet Dhand

Proposed format and schedule for the session

The session will feature five invited lectures, each lasting 12 minutes (including 2 min for Q&A), focusing on the COHFE framework created by FAO, WHO, and WOAH. These lectures will delve into various aspects of the framework, including the prioritization tool and the accompanying guidance documents covering curriculum development, mentorship, evaluation, certification, and continuing education.

Following these lectures, a 30-minute panel discussion will explore strategies for practically implementing the framework by countries, regions, or field epidemiology training programs in the post-pandemic era. We are open to additional presentations related to this theme, and contributions are welcome during the session.

Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance And Dashboards

Theresa Bernardo
Casey Cazer, Kurtis Sobkowich, Petra Muellner and Uli Muellner

A brief description of the session theme and objectives

Antimicrobial resistant bacteria are a quintessential One Health problem. Veterinarians and epidemiologists can use antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems to gather vital information on the prevalence of resistance in key pathogens, identify emerging pathogens, and evaluate the impact of antimicrobial stewardship systems on resistance. Understanding temporal and geospatial trends in resistance will help epidemiologists and veterinarians respond to resistant pathogen threats. Significant challenges remain in collecting, analyzing, and presenting resistance data including data interoperability among laboratories, creating user-friendly visualizations, metadata generation, use of AI, and data sharing and privacy. These challenges are relevant to antimicrobial resistance surveillance for humans, livestock, companion animals and the environment. The ultimate goal is an integrated One Health surveillance system incorporating all of these elements. This special session will provide an overview of the status of antimicrobial resistance surveillance, with a special focus on companion animals, stimulating discussion on how to develop and strengthen surveillance systems. Barriers will be identified, as well as steps that can be taken towards achieving an integrated surveillance system.

List of potential speakers or contributors and webpages describing them

  • Casey Cazer, Cornell,USA: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/research/faculty/casey-cazerdvm-phd
  •  Theresa Bernardo, Guelph, Canada: https://www.linkedin.com/in/theresa-bernardo4563397/?originalSubdomain=ca
  •  Kurtis Sobkowich, Guelph, Canada: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kurtissobkowich?originalSubdomain=ca
  •  Petra/Uli Muellner Epi-Interactive, NZ (Tentative): https://www.epiinteractive.com/work/who-glass-dashboard

Proposed format and schedule for the session 

We propose a 1.5-2-hour interactive session depending on the number of relevant abstracts submitted, beginning with four 15-minute keynote presentations followed by a 15-minute guided discussion. The keynotes will provide an overview of antimicrobial resistance in companion animals, drawing on the organizers’ research and expertise in AMR, data science, and data visualizations. We will invite oral presentations (15 minutes each) of relevant abstracts on AMR surveillance and visualization, according to the time allotted to the special session. The session will end with a 30-minute moderated panel discussion, including the keynote and abstract presenters, featuring audience engagement through questions/polling.

Eliminating Dog-mediated Rabies: Synthesizing One Health Approach

Salome Duerr
Harish Tiwari

A brief description of the session theme and objectives 

Despite the global efforts spanning more than a century, dog-mediated rabies still registers its deadly presence causing alarming mortality in humans, livestock, and dogs, resulting in significant burden on health, welfare, and economy. In this special session we dwell on the allied aspects of rabies control that are a must of any One Health approach towards controlling dog-mediated rabies.

1. To elaborate on dog population studies and their significance towards controlling dog-mediated rabies

2. To discuss dog behaviour aspects and their application to achieve effective canine vaccination coverage

3. To deliberate on need to identify specifically vulnerable populations and strategy to educate them

4. To draw attention to improving diagnostic reach and data management

5. To highlight need for an integrated surveillance mechanism facilitating linkages between human and animal health

6. To devise digital and Machine Learning based solutions for control of dog-mediated rabies

List of potential speakers or contributors and webpages describing them

1. Salome Durr 2. Harish Kumar Tiwari

3. Parimala Mohanty

4. Laura Cunha De Albuquerque Ferreira Da Silva

5. Filipe Miguel Maximiano Alves de Souza

6. Sonja Hartnack

7. Terence Odoch

8. Ewaldus Wera

Proposed format and schedule for the session 

1. Keynote address: Two to three (20 minutes each)

2. Original research or reviews: five to six (10+2 minutes each)

3. Interactive session: 30 minutes (Quiz/panel discussion)

Adoption of digital transformation to deal with One Health issues among the LMICs

 Thang Nguyen-Tien

A brief description of the session\\’s theme and objectives 

Information communication technologies (ICTs) have significantly contributed to the development of innovative approaches, including disease surveillance and response systems. In the situation of limited capacity or absence of animal health services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), ICTs can boost not only agricultural productivity, but also facilitate the reduction the risks of one health issues including zoonoses, food safety and AMR. The Animal and Human Health program (AHH) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), with the assistance of ICT applications, aims to manage effectively or eliminate the above one health issues that matter in particular to poor people through generation and utilization of new knowledge, technologies and products.


  • Review the current situation of regional ICT works to reduce the burden of zoonoses, animal diseases, food safety and AMR
  • Discuss the extension of ICT applications to control and mitigate the burden of animal, zoonotic diseases, food safety, and AMR
  • List of potential speakers or contributors and title
  1. Fred Unger: One Health implementation from ASEAN country perspectives with emphasizes on ICT applications
  2. Bernard Bett: A web-based decision-support tool for prevention and control of Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Kenya
  3. Terdsak Yano: PODD surveillance system: The evolution of digital tool in One-health surveillance in Thailand.
  4. Annie Cook: Using mobile syndromic surveillance at slaughter to understand the incidence and distribution of important animal and zoonotic diseases in Kenya and Uganda.
  5. Thang Nguyen: Development and use of mobile application for transboundary animal and emerging zoonotic diseases surveillance in Vietnam.
  6. Florence Mutua: Management of animal diseases and antimicrobial use by information and communication technology to control AMR in East Africa.

Panel discussion

Moderator: Dr. Hung Nguyen-Viet

Possible contributors/panelists:

Lee Hu Suk (Professor at Chungnam National University, Korea)

Terdsak Yano (Assistant Professor at Chiang Mai University, Thailand)

Expert from Epi-interactive or Ausvet (Australia)

Bernard Bett/Annie Cook: Senior Scientist at ILRI

We can also extract some alternative options from list of attendees.

  • Scientists (1-2), but not only, and across PH and AH
  • Private sector (1), if attending
    • Donor (1), e.g. Anny Okello ACIAR
    • WOAH (region)
    • Policy (1)
  • Proposed format and schedule for the session (maximum 100 words)

The session will have 6 presentations. The chairperson is from ILRI program level.  Each presentation will have 12 minutes to talk and 3 minutes for Q&A. After the presentations, we will organize a 30-minute panel discussion about “Using Information Communication Technology as one of solution to mitigate the burden of one health problems”. Panelist will consist of experts on the field of using ICT to deal with Emerging Infectious Zoonoses, One Health, AMR from academia, international organizations, policy and private sector.