Infectious diseases pay no heed to national borders. Mankind has always been threatened by zoonoses, such as influenza, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, SARS, tuberculosis and prion diseases. As seen with the emergence and pandemic of the swine-originating H1N1 flu virus in 2009 and the enterohemorrhagic E. coli (O104) crisis of 2011, it is not possible to predict outbreaks of emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases. The 2010 outbreak of a foot-and-mouth disease highlighted the tremendous effects that trans-border infectious diseases in animals have on society and the threat they pose to the supply of animal protein.
Human/animal health and ecosystems are threatened not only by biohazards (such as infectious disease-causing pathogens and microbial toxins) but also by hazards from chemicals discharged into the environment as a result of man's production activities. These hazards include poisonous metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead, pollutants such as DDT, PCB and dioxins, and emerging pollutants contained in flame-retardants and surfactants known to have caused global-scale contamination. People living today's modern lifestyles of convenience have a duty to pass safe living environments on to future generations.Infectious diseases and health hazards from chemicals are often activated at the interface between humans and animals, only manifesting themselves after they have gradually spread. To protect our environment from hazards and realize the One World - One Health ideal, it is imperative to detect minute changes and abnormalities at this interface so that appropriate preventive measures can be taken. In light of this, contributions from veterinary medicine and veterinarians, who carry a responsibility to ensure the health of animals and people alike, are now needed on a global scale to support the soundness of ecosystems and health.
The Fostering Global Leaders in Veterinary Science for Contribution to One Health program includes two courses for expert training in zoonotic disease control and chemical hazards at Hokkaido University's Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine. On these courses, postgraduate education is provided to support the development of leaders with outstanding expertise who can exercise leadership in promoting education and research in their specialized fields and in taking necessary measureswhile holistically understanding problems and issues that need to be addressed. In addition to the education and training provided on these courses, efforts will be made toward the development of an education system benefitting from global-scale industry-university-government collaboration.Accordingly, postgraduate education will be further advanced and the development of future global leaders will be promoted.
All first-year students take intensive basic subject classes in the Program for Leading Graduate Schools "Fostering Global Leaders in Veterinary Science" to help them acquire a broad academic knowledge base and a holistic viewpoint. Attendance at academic English classes is also compulsory to support the improvement of language skills for future work abroad.
These courses consist of a core curriculum, practical epidemiology training/joint research abroad, and a period of overseas internship as outlined below. Students earning enough credits for course completion take a certification exam with essay and oral parts. Those passing the examination will be certified as experts in either chemical hazard or zoonotic disease control.
Core curriculum (taught in English)
The purpose of the curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and problem-solving techniques required of experts.
Students select subjects from among advanced lectures on veterinary medicine, life science or animal science based on their area of specialty. International/domestic internships are also compulsory as part of career path development.