Woutrina and UC Davis delegation in Chile

OHI Around the World: One Health in Chile

Fostering a global network of One Health professionals

Is Chile California’s home away from home? I visited Santiago, Chile again in Feb 2023, and once again felt strong synergies across the people and the places that have so much in common…it struck me that we share similar climates, similar crops, similar coasts, similar mountains, similar music, similar passions, to those we find in California… just in opposite hemispheres of our world.

As we think about planetary health and the connectedness we have with where our food comes from, where our vacations take us, where pollution goes, and where inspiration comes from…we might consider Chile our sister California, and how we can help each other stay at the forefront of innovative solutions for drought-tolerant agriculture, for winemaking, for water issues, for One Health.

My visit to Chile was full of new ideas, new friend, old friends, and lovely wines. Our UC Davis delegation included Chancellor Gary S.May and faculty representing health sciences, social sciences, engineering, and agriculture. We visited with leadership at the two top universities in Chile, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, and Universidad de Chile, as well as with UC Davis alumni who are faculty at these and other Chilean universities. We planned new collaborative research programs and renewed agreements with the ministry to show support for the UC Chile Life Sciences Innovation Center that connects faculty across our campuses.

Wout in Chile

My kids asked me what Chile is known for…I can attest to their amazing fresh seafood including salmon and calamari; their wonderful wines; the amazing avocados, BBQ, and fresh vegetables; does this sound a bit like California? But what makes me most hopeful for the future is the people and the interest in collaboration to foster innovation. We visited a university innovation hub building that brings together public and private partners for shared space and shared vision in new ways, and on the same day we visited a new veterinary school where UC Davis alumni are in leadership positions and are forging new ways to lead veterinary medicine while addressing societal needs, something we are also doing here at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Woutrina Smith in Chile

Thinking globally and acting locally is the way of the future. Team-based problem solving is here to stay, as no one person has all the answers for the complex and wicked problems facing our world. As we’ve come out of the pandemic, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to rekindle face to face collaborations with partners in Uganda, Thailand, France and Chile over the past six months, and the golden thread uniting us all is the will to foster a global network of One Health professionals who have the vision, commitment, and trust to work together as true partners.