Four faculty to emphasize the need for collaboration around zoonotic diseases at online national conference

Tuesday, April 5, 2021 | Written by Greg Tammen


OLATHE — This month, as part of a national conference, four Kansas State University faculty are discussing the need for intentional partnerships by public administration, public health and animal health professionals when it comes to responding to and improving policy for zoonotic diseases.

Paige Adams and Haley Larson, both teaching assistant professors of veterinary medicine at K-State Olathe; Ellyn Mulcahy, associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine; and Rebekkah Stuteville, teaching associate professor in the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Studies at K-State Olathe, are panelists at the American Society for Public Administration conference. The online conference begins April 9 and consists of multiple recorded sessions streamed throughout the month.

This year's theme is "Picking Up the Pieces: Pandemics, Protests and the Future of Public Service."

Adams, Larson, Mulcahy and Stuteville's panel is "COVID-19 as a Catalyst for Unconventional Partners: The Need for Collaboration Between Public Administration and Animal Health." It will be streamed on April 14.

Throughout the panel, each faculty will discuss a particular aspect of this topic that aligns with their background and expertise. Panelists represent the fields of public administration, public health, animal science and veterinary medicine, and currently collaborate to cross disciplinary boundaries.

Adams' presentation is "Academic Programming in Animal Health Regulatory Affairs: An Educational Platform for Mutual Understanding between Governmental Agencies and the Animal Health Industry." She discusses an ongoing collaborative effort between government and industry to create a graduate- level academic certificate on animal health regulatory affairs. She also discusses how this collaborative effort is important when developing animal health products that affect human health. The graduate certificate is the only academic offering of its kind in the U.S. and features animal health expertise as well as direct instruction from government and industry professionals.

Larson's presentation is "How COVID-19 has Highlighted the Importance of Partnerships with the Animal Health Industry and Strengthened the Need for One Health Initiatives." She looks at the connections between animal, human and environmental health — an initiative called One Health — from the perspective of the animal health industry. She also will address how COVID-19 has strengthened existing partnerships within the One Health initiative and fostered more collaborative efforts across multiple disciplines.

Mulcahy's presentation is "Public Health and One Health: How Local Public Health Practitioners See Themselves in a One Health Framework." She discusses the topic of One Health and addresses it from the perspective as a public health professional with expertise in infectious diseases and community-based collaborations, particularly when it comes to academic and professional preparation of the public health workforce.

Stuteville's presentation is "Why the Policy Process Matters in Animal Health." It looks at the need for animal health professionals to understand the policy process and the need for public administrators to understand more about animal health. Stuteville's perspective is based on her experience teaching in a Professional Science Master's program with an animal health track.

Public administration and animal health worker collaboration is essential to address large-scale policy problems as well as facilitate effective relationships by government and the animal health industry, said Stuteville, who spent 17 years in various roles in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before transitioning to higher education.

"As COVID- 19 has demonstrated, public administrators must be informed regarding matters such as zoonotic diseases and infectious disease epidemiology," Stuteville said. "Public administrators in all areas related to health will need to be equipped with a fuller understanding of concepts, such as One Health — an initiative that explores the relationships among animal, human and environmental health — if they wish to make informed decisions and craft sound policies."

"Alternatively, animal health professionals should understand the basics of the policy process in order to effectively inform, and potentially influence, government policy and decision-making," she continued.

Register and learn more about the conference at