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Gebreyes appointed Executive Director of Global One Health initiative

Wondwossen Gebreyes, DVM, PhD, professor and director of global health programs for the College of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed executive director of The Ohio State University’s innovative Global One Health initiative and named to the Hazel C. Youngberg Distinguished Professorship. One Health partners Ohio State with 19 Ethiopian and U.S. institutes to improve health, build capacity and provide learning opportunities for Ethiopian and Ohio State students, and has recently expanded operations into eastern Africa, Brazil and southeast Asia. Gebreyes developed the One Health project in 2009, and in 2012 the initiative grew to include Ohio State’s seven health sciences colleges as well as the colleges of agriculture, food and environmental sciences; business; engineering; arts and sciences; and social work.

With Gebreyes’ leadership, One Health has become the university’s largest, interdisciplinary example of institutional teamwork operating on a global scale. Today hundreds of Ohio State students, faculty and staff are involved in the project, addressing cervical cancer, animal-borne Tuberculosis, maternal and child health, food safety, antimicrobial resistance, rabies prevention and control, and sharing the information through innovative e-learning technology. To reflect the university-wide impact of the Global One Health initiative, it will be housed under the umbrella of the Office of International Affairs and will align closely with academic units as well as the Office of Research, the Office of Outreach and Engagement and the Office of Distance Education and eLearning. The initiative will employ two full-time project managers, one in Columbus and one in Ethiopia. The goal of the initiative is to expand its activities in East Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and replicate the One Health model in other regions of the world, particularly in China, India and Brazil, locations of Ohio State’s Global Gateways.

“Under Dr. Gebreyes’ leadership, Ohio State’s One Health initiative has led to interdisciplinary partnerships and innovative approaches to finding solutions for emerging health issues,” said William Brustein, vice provost for international affairs and global strategies. “It is a testament to Dr. Gebreyes’ expertise, commitment and passion that we have created a university-wide initiative with him at the helm to support and expand Ohio State’s global impact in this critical area.”

Since 2009 the initiative has gained momentum and assembled an integrated team of researchers, clinicians and students to address major emerging health threats in the East Africa region; implemented short-term training via the One Health Summer Institute providing faculty and students alike the opportunity to build capacity of current and future professionals through innovative education; along with partners in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, established exchange programs to conduct cross-training of faculty, students and staff; a sandwich master’s and PhD program trained five PhDs, two master’s students and more than 100 laboratory technologists; and utilized state-of-the-art technology to develop online courses through iTunes U learning with 9,200 students enrolled in more than 90 countries in one course alone.

“Dr. Gebreyes has developed a reputation of excellence and is recognized as an innovative leader in global one health activities,” said Rustin Moore, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "He has established strong networks within the college, across the university, and around the world to build collaborative teams and innovative approaches to improve the health and well-being of people and animals. In his new role at Ohio State, he will be able to further capacity building efforts in a larger arena for even greater global impact.”

One Health is a prime example of Ohio State’s commitment as a global institution and demonstrates the successful contributions by faculty and students to engage in meaningful and beneficial partnerships to gain and share knowledge, and find innovative solutions to the world’s most compelling issues.