Photos: Radford Davis

Building for the Future

This summer, the College of Veterinary Medicine is offering a study abroad journey to Uganda.

Dr. Radford Davis, associate professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine, hopes to build on this experience for future veterinary medicine students.

“I hope that future visits with students will build on what’s done in 2023 by implementing actions within the communities to improve animal and human health and increase prosperity,” Davis said.

“Vet Med One Health Study Abroad in Uganda” will take place May 28 through June 12 with an application deadline of March 1. The experiential study abroad program will focus on human health, animal health and the environment in the Kamuli District of Uganda.

Davis says the overarching goal of the program is to improve the lives of the people of Kamuli through work on health-related projects. Each student will utilize observational and questionnaire surveys they will design and administer as part of a team to evaluate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) within the district, or to evaluate zoonotic disease awareness and prevention of households.

The Kamuli District is north of the Ugandan capital city and has about 533,000 people, many of whom are poor farmers. WASH is vital to health, to education, and to alleviating poverty.

“Not everyone in Kamuli has these things,” Davis said. “As many people own food animals of one kind or another, knowledge of zoonoses is important in preventing human infection, morbidity, and mortality.

“By better understanding the current status of WASH and zoonotic awareness, we can then make recommendations to improve these.”

Visiting homes and farms and assessing WASH and zoonoses knowledge is the first step and one that participating CVM students will do this summer. The students will attend an eight-week predeparture course to prepare them for their time in Uganda, and to learn more about the area, the people, health issues, expectations, and to design the surveys.

The information collected by the students through these surveys will lay the groundwork for future CVM students to build upon.

“This first offering is to explore and lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship with the people of Kamuli and Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine,” Davis said. “I’m hopeful the students will make a contribution to improving the health and well-being of communities. Rather than just seeing, they will be doing – interacting with the people as well as the animal health and human health workers.”

Interested students can contact either Davis at or Xiaoshuang Wei at

February 2023