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Dr. Kelsey Jurek cares for a burro as students observe.

Study abroad course advances One Health initiative

Friday, August 12, 2022

Media Contact: Kaylie Wehr | Coordinator, Public Relations and Marketing | 405-744-6740 |

Study abroad courses offer a fun and educational experience that compliments traditional classroom learning for undergraduate students to expand their knowledge and gain unique experiences.

One study abroad course provides pre-medical and pre-veterinary undergraduate students hands-on experience and a better understanding of the One Health concept.

One Health is a collaborative, transdisciplinary approach working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.

Organized by the Oklahoma State University Ferguson College of Agriculture in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Health Sciences, the June 2022 course took 18 pre-vet and two pre-med students to Mexico.

Attending from the College of Veterinary Medicine was Dr. Kelsey Jurek — a CVM clinician and lecturer who served as a faculty advisor — and two third-year veterinary students, Braden Steidley and Porter Sciba.

The group traveled between Mexico City; Puebla; and Tierra Blanca, Veracruz. During the rural clinic days, they served the Úrsulo-Galván, Nueva Masamilla and La Barahunda communities.

Jurek worked closely with local veterinarians to oversee groups of students as they performed exams and provided care to horses.

“Each equid (horse or burro) was given a thorough physical examination, assigned a body condition score and their age was verified using their dentition (condition and arrangement of their teeth),” Jurek said. “Any wounds the animal had were cleaned and treated with topical ointments and each equid was administered an oral anthelmintic (deworming medication).

“We also saw several horses with respiratory disease that we treated with antibiotics and performed several musculoskeletal and respiratory evaluations and castrations.”

This study abroad course provided students and faculty the ability to gain experience and serve others.

“This course offered students hands-on experience working in their respective fields and getting exposure to what those career paths are all about,” Jurek said. “Another key goal was to introduce, incorporate and promote the One Health initiative among the students, the CVM, CHS, and the communities we had the privilege of serving.”

Students also learned the importance of serving others.

“Lastly, but certainly one of the most chief components of the course, was to provide medical care and education to members of the community and their working equids,” Jurek said. “By bettering human and animal health, we have the opportunity to help better the overall health of these communities — a true example of One Health at work!”

It wasn’t just the students who benefited from this study abroad course, the faculty also found it rewarding.

“From an educator’s standpoint, this course was incredibly motivating,” Jurek said. “It is so fun to get to work with these pre-vet and vet students in this setting because I remember being in their shoes! Everything I mentioned regarding the impact of the course for the students holds true for myself, as well.”

Providing exceptional care and education, mentoring students and strengthening relationships with others in the OSU community, are all important pieces that lead to fulfilling the college’s mission and vision.

“I highly encourage anyone, faculty and students, wanting to get involved in something like this to reach out,” Jurek said. “This course is such an awesome display of collaboration and unity on the part of OSU and I can’t wait to see how the program continues to grow and the impact it will make on a global scale!”

Faculty or students interested in participating in this study abroad opportunity in the future can visit the course website or contact Dr. José Uscanga at or 405-744-6580.

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