The Universidad Católica del Maule launched the first postgraduate program in Chile based on the «One Health» concept. The program, which recognizes the link between human, animal, and environmental health, will begin in March in Talca.
«In Chile, there are no doctorates like this one. Thus, it is an incredible challenge.» This is how the Vice-Rector for Research and Postgraduate Studies of the Universidad Católica del Maule (UCM), Hernán Maureira, described the first Doctorate in Ecosystem Health in the country, which will begin this month at the San Miguel campus in Talca.
«It is one of those dilemmas of the future that are beginning to be worked on at the university, straining the monodisciplinary projections. This postgraduate degree is possible only insofar as it is transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary, and in fact, it will bring together four faculties», added the authority.
The postgraduate degree, which will be taught by the Research Center for Advanced Studies (CIEAM, by its initials in Spanish), which belongs to the campus, recognizes the link between human, animal, and environmental health, which drives the avant-garde approach of «One Health».
«PhDs are characterized by being innovative and promoting cutting-edge knowledge. In this case, it will address a future problem in the field of health, which sees the human being not only as the center of a disease but as part of an ecosystem,» Maureira pointed out.
«One Health» corresponds to an interdisciplinary approach proposed by the Wildlife Conservation Society at its 2004 conference in New York.
The meeting culminated in the «12 Manhattan Principles», which urge world leaders and scientists to consider the interrelationships between zoonotic diseases and ecosystems more holistically. Since then, more and more researchers have come to recognize the reciprocal effects between human health, animal health, and the ecosystems in which they coexist.
«We realized late as humanity that we need that balance. In this postgraduate degree, we finally realized that human and ecosystem health are linked and are one and the same,» said CIEAM’s subrogate director, Alex Echeverría.
Echeverría, a member of the creative committee, said that the program is aimed mainly at health-related professionals, ecology, and biology, with a curriculum of eight semesters.
«It is a very nice and wide subject. It gives to study many phenomena, with infinite thesis topics, from human health to the ecosystem and everything in between. We are at a time when society needs doctorates with this vision, to try to incorporate it into the scientific community and make the world see how important ecosystem health is,» he said.