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Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Founder and CEO, Conservation Through Public Health

Craig Stanford
, Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences, USC; Co-Director, USC Jane Goodall Research Center; Research Associate in Vertebrate Biology, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History


Laura Ferguson, 
Director, Director of Research at the Institute on Inequalities in Global Health; Associate Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC

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Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) is an award-winning Ugandan grassroots NGO and US registered non-profit founded in 2003 that promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people to co-exist with wildlife through improving animal health, community health and livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas and wildlife-rich habitats. Following a fatal scabies disease outbreak in the then critically endangered mountain gorillas that was traced to marginalized human communities living around the protected gorilla habitat, CTPH developed a One Health approach to biodiversity conservation that addresses human, animal and environmental health together.


CTPH’s programs began at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, home to just under half of the world’s mountain gorillas. The One Health model improved community health and contributed to a reduction in human-related morbidity and mortality in gorillas. This model also improved community attitudes to conservation, and led to better protection for gorillas in community land. CTPH built upon this One Health model to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, working with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), NGOs, tour operators and community groups, to prevent transmission of COVID-19 between people and from people to gorillas and improving community livelihoods in the absence of tourism through Gorilla Conservation Coffee - a social enterprise that supports farmers living around habitats with gorillas. Through organic expansion, training and advocacy this model that is addressing 10 out of 17 sustainable development goals, is being expanded to biodiversity hotspots to prevent and better control disease outbreaks, as well as, address climate change. This includes the Collaborative One Health Research Initiative on Epidemics (COHRIE) project where CTPH and USC are partnering with Ministry of Health which is leading the project through Uganda Virus Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries and UWA, as well as other academic institutions.


CTPH is advocating for integrated approaches to achieve a planet in balance through a book – Walking With Gorillas – about Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka’s conservation and leadership journey shaped by One Health.


Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is Founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), an award-winning NGO and non-profit that protects endangered gorillas and other wildlife through One Health approaches. She became a National Geographic Explorer in 2018.


This event is co-sponsored by the USC Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life and USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health.

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  • Sachi Pawooskar-Almeida

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