MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (Oct. 30, 2009) Experts from the University of Minnesota will soon be on the frontlines working to help developing countries better respond to emerging animal diseases that pose a threat to human health.
The University of Minnesota is part of a multidisciplinary team that will implement a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) cooperative agreement with funding up to $185 million.
The project, called RESPOND, is one of five that will work together to pre-empt or combat the first stages of emerging zoonotic pandemics diseases that can spread between animals and humans.
Faculty from the College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Public Health, the School of Nursing, the Medical School, the College of Education and Human Development, and College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences, will be traveling to hot spots (likely located in Southeast Asia, the Congo Basin, and the Amazon Basin) to try to prevent the next pandemic. They'll be tasked with improving the ability of countries to recognize and respond to new epidemics in areas where ecological relationships between humans, animals, and the environment are unstable.
"The University of Minnesota was sought out because of our range of expertise in zoonotic diseases that crosses disciplines and our focus on the connection between animal and human health," said Frank B. Cerra, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Minnesota. "We are one of only a handful of places in the country that has this range of disciplines."
"Without the leadership of Deans Trevor Ames (veterinary medicine), Connie Delaney (nursing), John Finnegan (public health), and collaboration from the Medical School, College of Education and Human Development and College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Science this would not have happened," Cerra said.
DAI, a company based in Washington, D.C., wi
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University of Minnesota