Conservation Medicine

WIS 5562


The discipline of conservation medicine results from a long evolution of trans-disciplinary thinking, merged from the health and ecological sciences.  This course will examine the links between climate, habitat and land use, emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants, and the maintenance of biodiversity as an indicator of the ecohealth of a community.  The course will describe conservation medicine in a historical context, and includes case studies and applied techniques.

This course will discuss conservation with wildlife forensic science in mind, from the perspective of the transdisciplinary approach. Forensics, as it relates to issues of wildlife crime, the illegal wildlife trade, and the consumption and trade of bushmeat; ecotoxicology as it relates to forensics and the use of plants to harm humans, livestock, or wildlife; applied techniques in conservation as it relates to the forensic sciences will all be discussed.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Explain the concept and principles of conservation medicine (CM) & ecohealth and why they are important for his/her own area of work and to other areas of work
  • Understand the dynamics of disease in CM & ecohealth and how they are influenced by human-induced changes, as well as their role in ecosystems, conservation, and issues related to public health and agriculture
  • Understand the human impact and role humans play in relation to the issues of conservation, resource management, global health, and security
  • Apply CM & ecohealth principles to the analysis or planning of new research and interventions, including being able to identify the skill sets and knowledge bases needed to address specific questions.
  • Understand the place of CM & ecohealth in the broader landscape of research and policy questions, as well as the relationship of research to policy and action
  • Develop a greater understanding of the socio-political, cultural, ethical, and historical dimensions and meanings of health
  • Use specific case studies as an application for conservation medicine in action

Course Topics

Module Topic
Module 1 Conservation Medicine: Ecohealth in Practice
Module 2 Emerging infectious disease, disease transmission, & ecohealth
Module 3 Anthropogenic change & conservation medicine
Module 4 Human aspects of conservation medicine
Module 5 Applied techniques of conservation medicine
Module 6 Case studies in conservation medicine