One Health: Communicating Connections Between Human, Animal, and Environmental Health

Takes is the first to hold this new internship focused on One Health with UConn Extension

Marlena Takes

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The College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural ResourcesExtension internships provide students with the opportunity to learn and work in a paid career-oriented role. Marlena Takes shares her experience with UConn Extension.

Originally published August 2021, updated January 2022

Allied health sciences major Marlena Takes ’22 (CAHNR) spent her summer working to increase awareness of the One Health approach at UConn and in the broader community.

The One Health approach emphasizes how human health is intimately connected to the health of the plants, animals, and environment around them.

One Health has recently been gaining prominence, especially given its implications for how animals can serve as reservoirs for viruses such as the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 infection.

Takes was the first to hold this new internship focused on One Health with UConn Extension. The team Takes worked with includes extension educator Marc Cournoyer and associate professor of growth physiology in the Department of Animal Science, Kristen Govoni.

Takes helped develop a website to disseminate One Health information to the community. This information includes guidance on interacting with animals and food safety. She says this internship has helped her learn and practice how to make scientific information accessible to the general public. She looked to models like the CDC’s website for inspiration about how to present key One Health information.

The One Health website takes a multimedia approach to sharing information. Takes created and aggregated infographics, podcasts, and other kinds of media that appeal to people with different learning styles.

Takes says the group working on this initiative hopes to eventually develop a One Health academic program at UConn. They are currently assessing what courses at UConn could be used to fulfill requirements for a major or minor and what courses could be added.

After UConn, Takes intends to go to graduate school and pursue a career in the health field. She says her sister is a nursing student, which has given Takes the chance to see the positive impact healthcare workers can have.

Takes says her experience as a UConn Extension intern has helped her develop her research and communication skills while learning about this critical emerging field in healthcare.

“I would love to be able to make that positive impact, especially for a young kid in a scary situation,” Takes says. “It’s nice to be able to help people when they need it most.”

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