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Capacity building

ecoHEALTH capacity building activities

The field of research lining ecology and health being emerging, there is a strong need to build capacity not only towards scientists from developing countries but also towards training young scientists on this new field of research.

ecoHEALTH builds capacity by focusing on the following needs:

  1. Strenghtening ecoHEALTH science worldwide;
  2. Training young scientists on biodiversity and health; and
  3. Strenghtening the science-policy interface worldwide.

To achieve these goals, ecoHEALTH is involved in two activities

  • EcoHealthNet, providing graduate training on ecoHEALTH activities in the USA and internationally;
  • EcoHealth WriteShop, targetting individuals from developing nations to increase their knowledge of the process of writing and submitting manuscripts to international academic journal.



EcoHealthNet is a Research Coordination Network (RCN) programme, funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), for international graduate students interested in infectious disease research. EcoHealthNet is a partnership among EcoHealth Alliance, the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the University of Wisconsin, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, the Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, DIVERSITAS ecoHEALTH, the International Association of Ecology and Health (EcoHealth), the Ecosystem Health Initiative of the University of Minnesota, the COHAB Initiative, and a number of other partners.

EcoHealthNet is comprised of two parts: an annual workshop and a summer research exchange programme. Workshop participants will receive high-level training from experts on topics such as mathematical modeling and spatial analysis, field and laboratory techniques for disease ecology studies, the economic costs of emerging diseases, and epidemiology and ecology. Exchange students will conduct three-month research projects on high-profile, well-funded domestic and international research projects, ranging from the ecology of SARS in China to the dynamics of West Nile virus in the US.



The workshop explored strategies of control and prevention of zoonotic diseases through didactic methods and hands-on experience, including interactive group work. Specific sessions included introductory lectures on qualitative research tools in risk assessment and zoonotic disease control and prevention, with a special focus on bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) outbreaks, biosecurity/biocontainment practices, development of ‘gap-analysis’ prevention plans, communications skills to explain risk to the public and media. Students also participated in field trips, where they visited dairy farms, live markets and cervid and wildlife farm-land to understand the key factors in reducing risk of transmission from wildlife to cattle, and among cattle. Other visits included a trip to the Department of Health and the Department of Natural Resources, to learn about current surveillance plans and the collaborative networks and communication channels in place, within the One Health strategies.


For more information, please visit the EcoHealthNet website.

Coordinator: Jon Epstein, EcoHealth Alliance, USA

Contact: Luciana Mendiola, EcoHealth Alliance, USA


EcoHealth WriteShops

This activity is led by EcoHealth Alliance and International Development Research Centre from Canada (IRDC). Two WriteShops were held (June 2011; February 2012) on writing and submitting manuscripts to international academic journals.

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