Educating about infectious disease ecology

Carol A. Brewer, Alan R. Berkowitz, Patricia A Conrad, James Porter, Margaret Waterman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Human health depends on healthy ecosystems, and ecosystem health depends on human choices. Because people play key roles in moving diseases around and modifying the environment in ways that determine the prevalence, spread, and severity of diseases, every citizen needs to understand the basic linkages between ecosystems, diseases, and health. In this chapter we address the thinking skills and essential habits of mind needed to understand the ecol ogy of infectious diseases (IDE) and to develop the self- confi dence, motivation, and skills to use their understanding in their professional and personal lives. Today, there are few examples of IDE or of effective teaching materials evident in K-12, undergraduate, or graduate and professional school curricula. Key elements of an educational agenda to integrate IDE knowledge into curricula from K-12 through graduate and professional schools are (1) the development of a compelling vision of what citizens, students, and professionals need to know, (2) synthesizing current knowledge about people's understandings, (3) identifying how IDE is taught and what resources are currently available, (4) articulating a research program to provide the intellectual foundation and to guide future practice in teaching and learning, and (5) promoting the implementation, assessment, documentation, and dissemination of innovative and effective teaching practices. Implementing the IDE education agenda presents new opportunities for transdisciplinary teaching, learning, and teamwork connecting knowledge bases and logic systems across disciplines, promoting an understanding of ecological complexity, and integrating social and environmental dimensions of understanding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInfectious Disease Ecology: Effects of Ecosystems on Disease and of Disease on Ecosystems
PublisherPrinceton University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780691124841
StatePublished - Dec 16 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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