Fairbanks university health conference postponed due to health concerns

One Health has postponed their conference pending developments with the coronavirus. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Center for One Health Research at University of Alaska Fairbanks has postponed an international conference which was to be held March 11-14 on campus.

The conference, titled One Health, One Future, was meant to be a major event for the program, which was officially started in 2018.

“We’ve been planning on this conference for two years. There’s a very large team of very dedicated people that have been working very hard,” said Arleigh Reynolds, the Center’s Director and Committee Chair. “It’s a huge undertaking,” he added.

According to Reynolds, the Center is hoping to reschedule the conference when it is safe to do so. For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised Reynolds that to have the conference at this time may put Alaska at risk for spreading coronavirus. As of March 10, there have been no reported cases in the state.

One Health emphasizes the interconnectedness of human health and that of other animal species and the environment.

Reynolds said, “I think it underscores the importance of One Health approaches to big issues. This coronavirus outbreak is a zoonotic disease, which means it’s a disease that started in animals and has then been transferred to people, and usually those happen because of changes that are inflicted on the environment. It’s kind of ironic that a big One Health issue like this is the cause for us postponing it, but it underscores the need to have these types of conferences and for people to work together on these issues.”

Reynolds added, “We will be back when it’s safe to do so.”

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