Jessica Deere

CGHSR Scholar

Portrait of Jessica Deere

United States

Jessica Deere received her PhD in 2021 from the UMN College of Veterinary Medicine and now is working as postdoctoral associate at the Emory University Department of Environmental Sciences. Deere joins the cohort of CGHSR scholars for 2021-2022 to work on a project titled "Greater Gombe Ecosystem Health: A new framework for understanding health at the human-nonhuman primate interface" and will work at the Gombe Stream Ecosystem Health research site in Tanzania along with mentor Dominic Travis, DVM, MPH, of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Deere will also be working with mentors Thomas Gillespie, PhD, at Emory University, and Tiffany Wolf, DVM, PhD from the UMN College of Veterinary Medicine.



"Understanding the risk of zoonotic disease transmission is crucial to both human and animal health, especially in systems characterized by high rates of human-animal overlap. To manage the threat of disease to wildlife, livestock, and humans, we must expand assessments to include local community needs, capacities, and priorities.

A non-invasive health monitoring program - the Gombe Ecosystem Health Project (GEHP), has studied the risk of infectious disease spillover and transmission between humans and nonhuman primates in and around Gombe National Park (GNP), Tanzania since 2004. With the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and other local stakeholders, we will build a framework necessary to identify spatiotemporal factors associated with interspecific disease transmission at the ecosystem level. The objectives are to: 1) Initiate community engagement in One Health in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem; 2) Improve on-site pathogen surveillance and diagnostic capacity; 3) Improve response to disease outbreaks; and 4) Describe spatiotemporal patterns of humans, livestock, and chimpanzee contact to identify potential pathways for disease transmission.

Since 1994, JGI has been working closely with local communities using its Tacare community-driven approach. The GEHP will build on those efforts, JGI’s 60 years of long-term chimpanzee research, 20 years of adopting geospatial technologies in remote rural areas, and over 16 years of standardized chimpanzee health data to better understand disease ecology in a well-studied natural system, providing a health management framework for other areas situated at the human-wildlife interface."



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