Dr. Amy Lowe started the MSc Global Health program at McMaster last week after working for 3 years as a private practice veterinarian.
“My first exposure to global health was at vet school,” explains Lowe, who spent a summer volunteering with Veterinarians without Borders in Jodhpur, India. “I witnessed the positive impact veterinarians can have on the overall health of a community. And I truly understood the concept of One Health: that the health of animals, people and the environment are all connected,” she says.
Along with two other vet students, Lowe worked with a rabies vaccination and sterilization clinic, focusing mainly on street dogs. “Tens of thousands of people, mostly children, die yearly from exposure to rabies via dog bites, with the highest prevalence in Asia and Africa,” explains Lowe. “One of the most effective ways to reduce infection rates is through population control and vaccination of dogs – the main reservoir for the virus in many developing countries.”
Lowe is originally from Beaver Bank, a small town outside Halifax. With a BSc from Acadia University, she earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Atlantic Veterinary College. In addition to volunteering in India, she has participated in sterilization and vaccination clinics in Jamaica, Mexico City, and within reserves in Northern Labrador. She has also been involved in improving animal health more locally, volunteering at the humane society and with Community Vet Outreach.
For the last four years, Lowe has participated in an annual veterinary mission trip to Honduras. “Improving the health of animals by providing preventative care that would otherwise be out of reach for these small-holder farmers means a more secure food supply for communities,” says Lowe. This year, her team vaccinated 3000 animals, and treated large and small animals for parasites, minor wounds and infections.
“With the continued emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases, transmitted from animals to people, veterinarians and other animal specialists are an essential part of teams addressing global health issues,” says Lowe, explaining why she decided to pursue an MSc in Global Health. She hopes the program will equip her with the cross-cultural skills and knowledge to use her veterinary background to improve the health of animals and humans around the world.