On March 2, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, co-hosted Dr. Monique Eloit, director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Eloit’s visit facilitated the exchange of ideas for how the University and OIE can work together on global animal health challenges and built on Texas A&M University and AgriLife’s numerous international collaborations. Joining Eloit at the meeting were Sujiro Seam, consul general of France at Houston and his scientific attaché, Robin Faideau. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Jim Butler, an international livestock consultant.
The visit began with an overview of OIE and Eloit’s work, including opportunities for scientific partnership between the OIE and universities. Eloit was then briefed on IIAD by Dr. Gerald Parker, interim director; Dr. Melissa Berquist, associate director; and Dr. Elizabeth Parker, chief veterinarian. The Institute was established in 2004 as a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence and, in 2014, was recognized by the OIE as a Collaborating Centre in the specialty of biological threat reduction.
Dr. Allen Roussel, professor and department head of large animal clinical sciences, provided an overview of the CVM and summarized the CVM’s various opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, Dr. Linda Logan, director of International Programs, informed Eliot of the CVM’s programs outside of the United States.
Eloit’s visit concluded with a walking tour of the CVM’s facilities, such as the CVM Small and Large Animal Hospitals and the Diagnostic Imaging & Cancer Treatment Center.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to have the director general visit our college and discuss ways in which the Texas A&M University System can participate in global animal health,” Roussel said. “It was also wonderful to be able to show our facilities and capabilities to French diplomats from the consulate. This meeting opened doors for IIAD, the CVM, and the entire university to increase our participation in the global society and global one health.”
“Dr. Eloit’s visit was a fantastic opportunity to build a partnership between the CVM and OIE,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine. “It was a pleasure for our team to hear about the OIE’s efforts to protect animal health, and to share how the CVM is serving every Texan every day.”
OIE was established in 1924 based on an international agreement between 28 countries to work collaboratively to stop zoonotic diseases that were devastating their livestock. The OIE was initially founded to stop infectious diseases of livestock, such as Rinderpest, also known as cattle plague. The organization promotes sharing scientific knowledge and best sanitation practices to combat animal and zoonotic diseases. In 1994, the World Trade Organization adopted the OIE’s guidelines on sanitation management and OIE’s recommendations were designated as the international reference on animal and zoonotic diseases.