Who would even think to investigate whether there’s a link between cattle vaccination rates and girls’ high school attendance, asked National Public Radio. We would. As you will read in this newsletter, Dr. Tom Marsh, who is jointly appointed in the School of Economic Sciences and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, led an interdisciplinary research team to learn how households decide whether to vaccinate for East Coast fever, a leading cause of cattle illness and death in East Africa. The team quantified the economic benefits of vaccine adoption, but took it one step further to estimate how those financial gains were then used for broader societal goals, including investment in childhood education. This study, which is ranked in the top 5 percent of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric, exemplifies two of the founding principles of the Allen School. First, that innovative technology such as the vaccines and drugs that our scientists research only makes a difference if used. Thus, understanding the decisions that drive people to adopt (or not adopt) these products is essential for ensuring our innovation has real-world impact. The second principle is our commitment to interdisciplinary approaches and the integration of social and economic sciences with biomedical research. Meeting our goal of improving public health and enhancing human opportunity requires the expertise found in a comprehensive research university. The work by Marsh and colleagues demonstrates the impact when disciplines work on a common challenge.
Guy Palmer
Creighton Endowed Chair and WSU Senior
Director of Global Health