The Asia Pacific is the world most dynamic region thanks to its rapid economic growth. However, the region is also facing profound challenges such as emerging infectious diseases, food insecurity, anti-microbial resistance, and climate change. With growing immigrants and booming in cross-national trading, these health-related issues rise concerns at the regional level which need to be tackled through North-South cooperation.

System thinking approach to health, such as One Health and Ecohealth, recognizes the linkage among human, animal and environmental health and encourages the global cooperation in tackling with those challenges. These research approaches have been promoted globally and especially in Southeast Asia which is considered the hot spot for infectious and zoonotic diseases in Asia Pacific region.

On 9 February 2018, a group of researchers from Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) shared their works in doing One Health and Ecohealth research through a half-day seminar at the Rakuno Gakuen University (RGU) in Hokkaido, Japan. The content included a preview of ecohealth research in South East Asia, an introduction of One Health core competencies and curriculum development in Southeast Asia and Vietnam and a sharing on One Health and Ecohealth approach in food safety research in Southeast Asia. The seminar was hosted by Prof. Kohei Makita from the RGU and its presenters were Dr. Nguyen Viet Hung – Regional Representative for East and Southeast Asia of the ILRI, Dr. Pham Duc Phuc – Coordinator of Vietnam One Health University Network and Deputy Director of Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research of the HUPH, and Dr. Fred Unger – Senior Scientist of the ILRI. Both ILRI and HUPH have had the long-term collaboration with the RGU. This was an attempt to share experiences, lessons learned, and examples in transdisciplinary research from the Southeast Asian context which could enrich the understanding of students from both veterinary medicine and public health in dealing with global issues of human and animal health.

The research group received a warm welcome from the president of the RGU (Photo credit: Hung Nguyen-Viet/ILRI Vietnam)

Presenters and students from the RGU at the seminar (Photo credit: Hung Nguyen-Viet/ILRI Vietnam)

Dr. Pham Duc Phuc presented his experiences in One Health curriculum development in universities in Vietnam (Photo credit: Hung Nguyen-Viet/ILRI Vietnam)

Dr. Fred Unger with presentation on One Health and Ecohealth application in research on food safety (Photo credit: Hung Nguyen-Viet/ILRI Vietnam)

Dr. Nguyen Viet Hung shared his work on Ecohealth in Southeast Asia, outlining achievements and challenges of the approach over the last 10 years and future outlook of the approach in the region (Photo credit: Hung Nguyen-Viet/ILRI Vietnam)

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