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Meet Dr Caitlin Pfeiffer

Lecturer in Veterinary Epidemiology and One Health, Melbourne Veterinary School, The University of Melbourne

What is your area of animal health?

I am an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist, working on sheep and cattle health in Australia and on capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region. I have a special interest in using maps to answer important animal health questions, such as where a disease has spread during an outbreak, and which places are at high risk of new disease outbreaks due to wildlife, environmental issues like climate change and deforestation, or human activities such as animal trade at markets.

What is your role in the APCOVE project?

As part of the APCOVE team, I have been the team leader on eLearning modules about patterns of disease in space and time, conducting outbreak investigations and undertaking descriptive analysis. With lots of input from our partner collaborators from the target countries, we have worked hard to create learning modules that are relevant to the Asia-Pacific context and that teach up-to-date techniques for effective investigation of outbreaks and use of surveillance data.

Why are you passionate about improving the skills of the Asia-Pacific animal health workforce?

To improve animal health in the Asia-Pacific region, we need people who understand the local animal industries, the local culture and behaviour, and who can work directly with animal owners. The exciting thing is that people like this are already in our target countries, they are the animal health workforce! By equipping these people with enhanced skills for outbreak investigation and surveillance, and giving them the confidence to apply their learning, they can do their work of protecting animal health more effectively. Good animal health is very important for good human health and also contributes to better outcomes for the environment. We call this a ‘One Health’ approach, and it is part of the solution to many of the challenges faced in our region and around the world.  

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