Monteverde CONSERVET is an on-site course that places students in the center of the ecosystem of concern. Instructional format includes preparatory lectures, labs and group discussions, combined with hands-on immersion in field study methods that examine the complexities of environmental functions and services, as well as the consequences that can occur when natural processes are disrupted. Instructors are professionals in the field of environmental biology and medicine. Selected workshops will engage students in ongoing research investigations aimed at better defining the drivers of ecologic health and decline. Ongoing projects include 1) capture and identification of local mosquito populations in two ecozones in relation to flavivirus vectoring, 2) trapping and examination of rodents for parasites and blood profiling, 3) capture and testing for carrier states of trypansomes in opossums, 4) capture and testing of triatomine bugs as vectors of Chagas disease, 5) capture, identification and sampling of wild and domestic bird species for avian influenza using cloacal and tracheobronchial swabs, 6) capture, identification and sampling of bat species for external parasites and to support genetic studies, and 7) testing local livestock species (e.g., ruminants, horses and poultry) for parasitic exposures through fecal and blood collections and examinations.

CONSERVET students are oriented toward the basic principles of ecologic (One Health) medicine, with an emphasis on the root causes of disease (e.g., climate change, land-use change, biodiversity loss, illegal wildlife trading) and presented with specific features that define the field environment in which the course is being conducted. Since populations often form the units of concern in ecosystem decline, basic epidemiological concepts, including an introduction to the concepts of geographic information systems) will be presented that enable a definition of health dysfunctions and the development of appropriate interventions available for the ecosystem health practitioner.

Toad in handCONSERVET considers the complexities that can compromise effective and sustainable solutions to global wellness by not only exploring the science available to define health problems but also the difficulties in formulating policies that allow scientific knowledge to be effectively applied. Since the practice of global medicine very often encompasses socioeconomic dimensions, workshops underscore the need to work across professional disciplines to meet the challenges inherent in establishing protocols that mitigate illness in a context where conflicts of interest can disrupt ecosystem stability.

CONSERVET workshops move beyond the more traditional passive didactic classroom formats to create a highly participatory educational environment to provide professional students with the most effective learning platform.