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Stringer Receives Fellowship for Global Health Research Project

The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s Andrew Stringer has been awarded a fellowship to combat antimicrobial resistance in Ethiopia.

Stringer, the CVM’s director of global health education, is one of two recipients of the inaugural Soulsby Travelling Fellowship. The United Kingdom-based Soulsby Foundation’s grant supports veterinary and medical research promoting a global One Health philosophy, that the health of animals, humans and the environment are intertwined.

In a blog post on the Soulsby Foundation website, Stringer wrote that his research project explores the use of antimicrobials by animal health professionals and livestock owners in central Ethiopia.

“The Soulsby Fellowship allows me to further develop my strong commitment to One Health as an epidemiologist focused on health and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Ethiopia,” wrote Stringer.

The project in Ethiopia adds to ongoing antimicrobial resistance work in the area from Stringer’s Health and Livelihoods Group. The research group determined a widespread lack of knowledge about the purpose of antibiotics in rural Ethiopian villages and also a number of risky antimicrobial usage behaviors.

The rise of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens is a looming threat to global health, challenging the ability to effectively treatment infectious diseases and maintain healthy animal populations. Antimicrobial resistance knows no geographic or class boundaries, impacting everything from the safety meat Americans purchase at the grocery store to the livelihoods of African farmers.

According to one estimate, Stringer writes in his blog post, drug-resistant infections will cause 10 million deaths a year and cost the global economy up to $100 trillion by 2050. The highest rate of death attributed to antimicrobial resistance, Stringer notes, will be in Africa.

The CVM is a worldwide leader in fight against antimicrobial resistance. The college is home to several national programs that identify antimicrobial-resistant  pathogens and track sources of outbreaks. Research done daily at the CVM tackles AMR from various angles, including advancing techniques to diagnose antimicrobial-resistant organisms in feedlot cattle to creating complete genomic sequences of Salmonella and E. coli to detect emerging drug-resistant strains.

Stringer has been a pivotal part of CVM’s commitment to fighting AMR and strengthening global health since arriving at the college in 2015 as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology. In his role at the CVM, he also leads study abroad trips for veterinary students interested in global health careers.

He also serves as the director of the NC State Global Health Initiative and lectures in international animal health at the University of Liverpool, where he earned a degree in veterinary science and a Ph.D. in veterinary epidemiology. Stringer’s Ph.D. focused on ways to effectively communicate with rural Ethiopian farmers about animal health.

The Soulsby Foundation, established in 2016, is named for Lawson Soulsby, Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, a parasitologist, veterinary surgeon and early One Health advocate. Soulsby, who died in 2017 and served as Queen Elizabeth II’s official veterinary surgeon, held professorships at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Cambridge.

The results of Stringer’s research, he wrote, “will allow us to design and implement culturally appropriate and effective interventions focused on mitigating AMR, helping both animal and human populations.”

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine