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U of G One Health expert named Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Fellow

A One Health expert at the University of Guelph is being recognized for her expertise in the Canadian health sciences community. 

Dr. Jan Sargeant, Ontario Veterinary College, University of GuelphDr. Jan Sargeant, founding Director of the Centre for Public Health and Zoonosis at the U of G and an epidemiologist in the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Population Medicine has been inducted as a Fellow with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). CAHS Fellows are world-renowned leaders and innovators who have a history of outstanding performance in the academic health sciences in Canada.

In addition to her expertise as a veterinary scientist, epidemiologist and food safety expert, Sargeant is recognized as a global leader of systematic reviews and of reporting guidelines in animal health, animal welfare and food safety. 

"It is indeed a huge honour to be inducted as a Fellow, in particular as a veterinarian," says Sargeant. "I'm really looking forward to being a part of this group and involved in the work that they do."

Sargeant’s two main areas of work, zoonoses and microbial food safety both fit under the concept of One Health. Her tireless work to develop reporting guidelines for randomized controlled trials in livestock and food safety (REFLECT) and reporting guidelines for observational studies in veterinary medicine (Strobe-Vet) enhance accessible, transparent animal research results, improving quality of information for therapeutic decision making and data use in risk assessment and disease modelling. She also is a partner in the international group Syreaf, providing systematic reviews relating to animal and food issues.

“Through her work, Jan has successfully bridged in Canada the “two solitudes” of veterinary public health and human public health in a way that is unique in Canada,” says nominator Dr. John Prescott, U of G professor emeritus. “Her election to Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences will strengthen the academy’s competency in “One Health” public health, in veterinary and public health epidemiology, in zoonotic disease, and in the performance of systematic reviews of important health issues.” 

“Jan’s work encompasses a true One Health approach, bringing together expertise in veterinary medicine, public health and food safety,” adds OVC dean Jeff Wichtel. “Under her leadership the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses has gained an increasing national and international reputation for research, education and collaborations with public health partners at every level.”

The CAHS’s mission is to inform policy and practice by mobilizing the best scientific minds to provide independent and timely evidence-based assessments of critical health challenges affecting Canadians. CAHS Fellows are health and biomedical science leaders who have achieved national and international peer recognition for their contributions to the health sciences through leadership, creativity, distinction competencies and commitment to advance academic health sciences, including teaching and public service.

Sargeant was inducted during the annual CAHS Forum in Ottawa this week, a conference fittingly focused on a One Health theme. 

Prescott co-chaired the meeting along with Dr. John Conly, Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services. 

The Forum’s focus on strategies to control antimicrobial resistance explored the pros and cons of a “one health” strategy in a public health crisis, as well as the current state of surveillance stewardship and research and development in the human and veterinary sectors in Canada.

In addition to Prescott, speakers at this year’s Forum included Drs. Carlton Gyles, U of G professor emeritus and Scott McEwen, an epidemiologist in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine. 

Read more on the CAHS website.