News Releases, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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News from the
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
3225 Vet. Med. Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
January 11, 2013

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Contact: Chris Beuoy

Marijuana, 'Monster' Energy Drinks, and More on Agenda for Free Health Discussion

UPDATE: > Watch a recording of the January 24 presentation online.

URBANA - The public is invited to a free community forum on health issues ranging from energy drinks and bottled water to antimicrobials in milk and meat and the pros and cons of legalization of marijuana. The forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 24, at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, 2001 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.

It is the first in a series of four talks, entitled "One Health & You: News You Can Use," slated for this spring and organized through the college's Center for One Health Illinois.

The January 24 session, "Marijuana, Monsters, & Milk: Public Health Perspectives," will feature four speakers covering a range of health topics.

  • Dan Linn, executive director, Illinois NORML: Marijuana research and policy
  • Dr. Yvette Johnson-Walker, University of Illinois: Energy ("monster") drinks and heart disease, cell phones and cancer studies
  • Awais Vaid, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District: Vaccination safety, rabies, and gastroenteritis
  • Dr. Jack Herrmann, University of Illinois: Antimicrobials in milk and meat, safety of bottled water, hand sanitizers
Throughout the series, the first hour will be devoted to science-based presentations from a panel of experts, and the second hour will allow attendees to ask questions and offer comments.

"The purpose of the lecture series is to provide the general public with reliable information and to clear up misconceptions," notes Dr. Herrmann, one of the directors of the Center for One Health Illinois and an organizer of the series. Dr. Herrmann, a faculty member at the College of Veterinary Medicine, holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and a master's in public health.

"For example, there is a belief held by some that immunization may cause autism in children, but studies have shown this to be unfounded," says Dr. Herrmann. "We will present evidence that reflects current scientific consensus. While people are entitled to their opinions, no one is entitled to make stuff up."

Three additional public forums have been scheduled:
  • Health Risk or Hype: Emerging Diseases You Should Care About, March 7, Urbana; regarding relative health risks associated with tick-borne diseases, Hanta virus, West Nile virus, whooping cough, tularemia, plague, antimicrobial resistance, and more
  • The Raw Facts: Food Fads, Fears, Fables and Safety, April 16, Urbana; covering raw diets for people and pets, unpasteurized dairy products, and food safety regulations
  • Of Pugs, Pigs, and Pandas: Animal Welfare at Home, Farm, Lab and Zoo, May 21, Urbana
The April and May sessions will also be repeated at the Brookfield Zoo on the day following the Urbana presentation.

More information is available online at Organizations co-sponsoring the Urbana series include the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and several units on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, including the College of Medicine, the Illinois Natural History Survey, the Global Health Initiative, and McKinley Health Center.

Media sponsorship is provided by the News-Gazette and WDWS.

"The series calls attention to the way human, animal, and environmental health are interrelated," he says. "One aspect of the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, for example, is that it will benefit the environment. Unregulated outdoor cultivation of marijuana currently occurs primarily on protected forests in the western U.S. and negatively affects wildlife, vegetation, water, soil, and other natural resources because of chemicals, fertilizers, terracing, and poaching. Legalization will introduce regulations for where crops are grown."

About the Center for One Health Illinois
The philosophy of "one health" recognizes the interdependence of the health and well-being of the human population, wild and domestic animals, and the natural environment. The Center for One Health Illinois was established at the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 as a way to allow the college's expertise in environmental health, conservation medicine, and infectious diseases to inform and improve public policy and public health.

The Center focuses on research, training, and outreach efforts in three related areas:

  • improving preparedness and response to natural and intentional exposures of biological, chemical, and physical agents; ensuring safe and sustainable food production systems
  • understanding disease processes that occur at the interface of human and animal activities and their effects on the environment; and
  • educating health professionals who understand factors for human, animal and ecosystem health, how public health policy is developed, and how it affects the health of all three.
More information can be found at