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Thinking One Health - Thinking Outside The Box

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

SEAOHUN’s fellow gains practical experiences without leaving his country

In 2020, we had to find unconventional solutions to continue our work amidst the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. SEAOHUN’s fellowship program aims to build capacities of young- to md-career One Health professionals by placing them in the sector-leading organizations. The pandemic forced the program to transform, due to travel restrictions, to match potential fellows with leading organizations in their respective countries.

In July 2020, Vietnamese lecturer Tuyen Ha Van applied and received fellowship support from SEAOHUN. His ambitious vision is to help communities in northern, mountainous areas in Vietnam out of poverty through education. Thus, he has dedicated his life to teaching as a lecturer at the Faculty of Resources and Environment Management, Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry (TUAF), for the last 5 years, before taking leave to join the SEAOHUN fellowship.

Tuyen’s fellowship was matched with the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) regional hub for Southeast Asia located in Hanoi, an organization well known for its research in food security, and a strong advocate for One Health approach. Under the supervision of Dr. Hu Suk Lee, his main supervisor, Tuyen gained hands-on experience in research on One Health issues. His two research projects are a multi-country survey of COVID-19 impact in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos, and mosquito-borne diseases risk mapping. The other mentors were Dr. Nguyen Viet Hung, Dr. Sinh Dang-Xuan, and Dr. Fred Unger, who provided guidance on COVID-19 survey. With the support from his supervisors, at the end of his fellowship Tuyen has finalized a manuscript and submitted it to PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal.

“I really feel that my research and teaching skills are improving exponentially thanks to the mentorship I receive from ILRI experts. Even though I stayed in my own country because of the worldwide lock downs, through ILRI I feel connected with the international research community. I communicate regularly with my peers from the Netherlands and Canada who are working on similar research projects.” said Tuyen.

Given the pandemic, many in-person meetings were transformed to on-line meetings. Tuyen found it challenging at first as virtual meetings were less engaging as these meetings were less effective than face-to-face. He felt comfortable with the new way of interacting with people quickly and accomplished a lot virtually with the warm and supportive environment at ILRI.

“This fellowship has really broadened my perspectives. I feel that I can be a better mentor to my students. What I really want to do for students are to help them think outside the box, explore many opportunities they have, equip themselves with One Health competencies, and apply One Health to improve the health of their communities.” wrote Tuyen.


- Personal protective equipment, distancing, and group size standards in this photo were consistent with local public health guidance and COVID-19 status in the specific country and time it was taken. This may not reflect best practices for all locations where COVID-19 is still spreading.-


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