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Designing Graduate Training Programs in Conservation Medicine—Producing the Right Professionals with the Right Tools


New challenges to human, animal, and ecosystem health demand novel solutions: New diseases are emerging from new configurations of humans, their domestic animals and wildlife; new pressures on once robust and resilient ecosystems are compromising their integrity; synthetic compounds and engineered organisms, new to the natural world, are spreading unpredictably around the globe. Globalization provides opportunities for infectious organisms to gain access to new hosts, changing in distribution and virulence. What type of training should be developed to provide professionals with the right tools to meet these challenges? In this article, we offer recommendations for developing academic programs in conservation medicine. We discuss the need for, and the advantages to, using a conservation medicine approach to address real world situations and present illustrations of how this is applied today. We suggest a core set of skills that are needed in a conservation medicine practitioner, and recommend key considerations for designing new conservation medicine training programs. We review existing programs that offer conservation medicine content, and provide examples of where opportunities exist for those interested in pursuing a conservation medicine career.

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