Dr Mike Lappin, Chair, One Health Committee (OHC)... Could you introduce yourself to WSAVA members?
I graduated from Oklahoma State University then undertook an internship, internal medicine residency and PhD program in Parasitology at the University of Georgia. While finishing my PhD, initially studying toxoplasmosis of cats, I discovered my love for all things infectious, zoonoses – and that cats were my favorite species. In my early years as an internal medicine specialist working in the clinics 26 weeks per year at Colorado State University, I found that teaching veterinary students and completing clinical research projects were also passions. When named the Kenneth W. Smith Professor in Small Animal Clinical Veterinary Medicine, I developed the Center for Companion Animal Studies to help me achieve my goals of studying clinical problems and heavily involving veterinary students with research. I was appointed Chair of the WSAVA One Health Committee in 2017.
What is your ‘day job’?
I spend my days providing small animal internal medicine and consultations on small animal infectious diseases in person at CSU and electronically on cases around the world, fundraising for the Center Young Investigator Award program, working with my research associates, interns, residents, and faculty colleagues on research and working with veterinary organizations like WSAVA, ISCAID, and the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
When and how did you first get involved with the WSAVA?
I first became involved as an invited speaker and via interactions with many worldwide members while teaching and doing research projects. When Professor Day asked me to join the One Health Committee, I jumped at the chance.
You’re the Chair of the One Health Committee. What does your role involve?
My primary role is to ensure that Professor Day’s vision for the OHC continues now that he has Executive Board matters to focus on. I’m keen to foster productive interactions with other WSAVA committees and sponsors and to provide leadership in garnering ideas as to how to keep One Health on the forefront and how to turn our ideas to outputs, including publications and CE endeavors.
Why is One Health such an important issue?
One Health affects everything that is important in our lives. Having a strong, global organization like WSAVA taking the lead is fundamental in helping us get our messages across to the veterinary profession, the medical profession and to the general public.
What projects does the One Health Committee have underway this year?
Our biggest project for 2018 is a One Health certificate course that will be available online around the world for our members. This 20-module course will be provided and monitored by the OHC at no cost to members. It will give those who successfully complete it a comprehensive overview of One Health. We’re are also working on new collaborations with other WSAVA committees, working on One Health-related publications and planning a One Health-related event for veterinarians and physicians, hopefully to be held at a medical school in Toronto as a pre- or post-WSAVA Congress Day in 2019.
Why is the WSAVA’s work so important?
We are the strongest worldwide organization of this type and therefore have the best platform to reach veterinarians and – through them - pet owners, their pets and, hopefully, their physicians.
What do you do when you are not working?
I’m typing this summary looking over the ocean on a dive trip. My wife and I love hanging with our animal family members, seeing the world, skiing, hiking, mountain biking and scuba diving.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’m proud to be a member of WSAVA. Please reach out to me if I can help with information about One Health or small animal infectious diseases. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org