Texas Tech University

Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine Adds Epidemiology Expert

George Watson

January 25, 2021

Vet school construction

Babafela Awosile's experience includes veterinary medicine, public health, preventive medicine and biostatistics.

It is one thing to diagnose and effectively treat a disease in a patient. Yet it takes an entirely different approach to understand, manage and prevent infectious organisms and disease in populations. Epidemiology is the field of science in which populations are studied to better promote health across the population.

Epidemiological skills are important for veterinarians and, by extension, to all of society. It is easy to think of a veterinarian being called to investigate an outbreak of some disease in a herd of cattle. But equally important is the veterinarian's role in human health. In fact, the Veterinarian's Oath includes to pledge to protect animal and public health. Society benefits when new knowledge provides ways to help advance this oath. New knowledge results from curious researchers answering important societal questions.

Babafela Awosile is one of those researchers. Through epidemiology, Awosile, a native of Nigeria, tries to understand antimicrobial resistance and the application of multifaceted mitigation strategies to help reduce disease occurrences at all levels. Awosile will bring that passion and experience to West Texas to help train the next generation of veterinarians who will serve its diverse rural and regional communities.

"Dr. Awosile is going to add to our school in many meaningful ways," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo. "As a veterinarian and an epidemiologist, he combines the skills to simultaneously research disease both in individuals and in populations. In other words, he can see both the forest and the trees. Dr. Awosile will find numerous collaborative opportunities to work with our amazing faculty to add to their research and to pursue his research interests. This collective body of research will benefit our animals, our communities we serve and society as a whole."

Awosile joins the ever-growing faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor of epidemiology and population health. He began his duties on Monday (Jan. 25).

Babafeka Awosile
Babafela Awosile

"I am excited to join the faculty and to be a part of the innovative program at the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine," Awosile said. "I look forward to working and collaborating with other faculty in the training of future veterinarians who meet the needs of rural and regional communities of Texas in both livestock and public health. My goal is to help equip future veterinarians with the skills necessary to meet their professional obligation of promoting public health and applying epidemiological principles in veterinary practice."

Awosile comes to Texas Tech University after spending the last 18 months in the Department of Health Information and Performances for the Government of Prince Edward Island in Canada, first as a health information data analyst and later as a health information specialist.

As a data analyst, he was responsible for statistical analyses, methodologies and reporting and the presentation of data to support decision-making and health care delivery improvement. As a health information specialist, he developed and implemented data inquiries from health information systems; created data gathering, reporting and analysis systems; and developed dashboards for heath data indicators.

His research uses epidemiological and genomic tools and One Health approaches to understand occurrences of infectious diseases, including antimicrobial resistance and the application of mitigation strategies to reduce its occurrence. As a teacher, he strives to have students think as a scientists to achieve their potential regardless of their background.

Prior to working for the Prince Edward Island government, Awosile served in a post-doctoral fellowship at Atlantic Veterinary College in the Canadian province, where he performed analysis of aquatic epidemiological data and conducted systematic review of viral and bacterial pathogens in wild salmonids.

He also served a year (2014-2015) as a research/field worker and laboratory assistant in the Veterinary Public Health Laboratory at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada.

Awosile also was a university lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture's College of Veterinary Medicine in Abeokuta, Nigera (2012-14). There, he performed collaborative research in antimicrobial resistance while teaching undergraduate classes in veterinary public health and preventative medicine.

Awosile earned his master's degree (2012) in veterinary public health and preventative medicine and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (2009) from the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He earned his doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Prince Edward Island and a graduate certificate in One Health from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2017.

While earning his master's degree, he served as a junior research fellow at the Federal University of Agriculture, continuing his work in antimicrobial resistance while teaching courses in veterinary public health clinics.

He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the Surveillance and Epidemiology of Drug Resistant Infections Consortium as well as the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association.

"Dr. Awosile will teach foundational courses in the veterinary curriculum in the areas of epidemiology, public heath and the approach to the treatment of disease," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. "Dr. Awosile will help students, faculty and industry to logically investigate and come up with strategies for disease outbreak investigations. He will contribute to our program to address and prevent diseases causing economic impacts in our region."

Awosile joins a growing and vibrant team of faculty and staff at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Additional team members will continue to be added over the next few months as the school prepares to welcome its inaugural class in the fall of 2021.

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo was established in 2018. In September 2020, the school was granted a Letter of Reasonable Assurance, from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education and has begun the admissions process in preparation for classes to begin in August 2021.

The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to serve rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practice types that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.