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U of M part of $185 million funded team tasked to improve global response to emerging pandemics
Date:10/30/2009

ll lead the RESPOND team, in partnership with the University of Minnesota and Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts another key member of the cooperative.

Although members of the RESPOND team will be dealing with diseases that don't yet exist, examples of similar diseases they might try to prevent include SARS, Ebola, and avian influenza.

"USAID recognizes the critical need to address emerging illnesses from a global perspective, and to better understand the intersection between human and animal health," said Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum, founder of the Congressional Global Health Caucus. "With this project, USAID recognizes the unique leadership role the University of Minnesota plays in bringing together the multiple disciplines and expertise required to address this global challenge."

The College of Veterinary Medicine's new Ecosystem Health program, National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and Center for Animal Health and Food Safety were instrumental in obtaining funds to join RESPOND.

"We are increasingly aware that our health depends on the health of livestock, wildlife, and the environment," said Katey Pelican, D.V.M., Ph.D., who championed University of Minnesota's proposal effort to join the DAI/RESPOND team and is the head of the Ecosystem Health program. "Nowhere is this clearer than in the increasing number of diseases that are emerging from animal populations as environmental degradation forces more interactions between wildlife, livestock and humans. The RESPOND program will provide the University of Minnesota the opportunity to use its unique ability to work across animal and human health disciplines to improve global response to these life-threatening outbreaks."

Over the course of the five-year project, the RESPOND team will work to improve the training and response capacity for zoonotic disease outbreak identification, investigation, analysis, and control within countries and regi
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Contact: Nick Hanson
hans2853@umn.edu
612-624-2449
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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