DIN is a not-for-profit conference and serves as a forum for the presentation of epidemiological investigations, clinical case studies, basic and applied research, and other topics in emerging and current zoonotic and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases. The conference's goal is to increase knowledge and awareness of these diseases within the veterinary, medical, public health, and academic research communities.
Participants include human medical providers, veterinarians, public health professionals, scientists, animal control officers, and others involved in the diagnosis, investigation, prevention, control, and research of zoonoses and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases.
DIN is sponsored by the Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control Branch and supported by the Texas Health Institute. For more information about zoonoses in Texas, please visit the Zoonosis Control Branch's website.
Dedicated to improving public health through a better understanding
of zoonoses and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases.
72nd Annual James Steele Conference on Diseases in
Nature Transmissible to Humans (DIN)
May 31, 2023 - June 2, 2023
La Quinta by Wyndham, San Antonio Riverwalk
CALL FOR PAPERS:
Watch for an announcement Fall 2022!
Registration is managed by the Texas Health Institute. The link for online registration will be posted when it's available.
Continuing education (CE) credit for multiple disciplines will be provided for this event.
History of DIN
The James Steele Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Humans (formerly known as the Southwest Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man) focuses on zoonoses and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases of interest to health professionals. Participants include include human medical providers, veterinarians, public health professionals, scientists, animal control officers, and others involved in the diagnosis, investigation, and prevention of zoonotic diseases.
The conference serves as a forum for the presentation of research, epidemiological data, and other aspects of emerging and current zoonoses and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases. Papers outlining case studies, outbreak investigations, basic and applied research, and surveillance program reports are presented with the primary theme of the conference being the ecology and epidemiology of these diseases.
The Southwest Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man had its first official meeting on June 2, 1951, but its origin was a decade earlier. In late January of 1941, J.V. Irons, Sidney Bohls, (Associate Director and Director of the Texas Department of Health (TDH) Laboratories) and A. B. Rich (Director of Veterinary Public Health at TDH) put together a seminar in the old Norwood building in downtown Austin. The purpose of this seminar was to provide continuing education in the areas of clinical laboratory techniques and microbiology to local technicians.
The group from the Texas Department of Health continued these seminars throughout 1941, expanding to include speakers from the biology department at the University of Texas. By 1943, the meeting had grown both in size and scope and was given the name Conference on Diseases of Animals Transmissible to Man, and Texas A&M University was added to the list of sponsors.
At that time, Dr. James H. Steele was a veterinarian in the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Steele founded the first veterinary public health program at the U.S. Public Health Service, where he served for 26 years. Dr. Irons and Dr. Steele were close associates and good friends. Dr. Irons asked Dr. Steele to deliver many papers at the conference and Dr. Steele worked closely with the organizing committees, suggesting many subject areas to explore.
In 1949, Dr. Irons realized that the conference was getting a wide variety of papers from a growing contingent of researchers, physicians, veterinarians, and laboratorians. He proposed that the name be changed once again to the Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man.
In 1950, the federal government, to increase knowledge and interest in biological warfare, proposed that 4 regional conferences be established as a venue for new and important papers to be given and discussed. Dr. Irons and Dr. Steele agreed that the existing Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man would fit neatly into this niche, and the Southwest Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man was officially born.
In 1973, the conference keynote address was formally named the J.V. Irons Keynote Address to honor Dr. Irons’ contributions to the conference. Dr. Jim Steele was the first J.V. Irons keynote speaker.
From 1951 through 2006, the conference met annually, becoming a premiere conference for the presentation of papers related to the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases and biological warfare, now referred to as bioterrorism. At the business meeting at the end of the 2006 conference, the membership voted unanimously to change the name of the conference to the James H. Steele Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Humans to honor Dr. Steele’s contributions to veterinary public health and to the creation and continued success of this conference. To see a list of DIN locations throughout the years, click here.
James Steele, DVM, MPH
"Animal Health, Human Health, One Health: The Life and Legacy of Dr. James H. Steele"
Dr. Steele received a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in 1941 and a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University in 1942, the only veterinarian in a class full of physicians. While working in a brucellosis testing laboratory for the Michigan State Department of Agriculture from 1938-41, he became interested in zoonotic diseases.
He founded the first veterinary public health program at the U.S. Public Health Service, where he served for 26 years. In 1963, he received the service’s Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the field of public health. In 1968 he was named Assistant Surgeon General for Veterinary Affairs.
Dr. Steele was a pioneer in integrating veterinary health into public health agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Among the many and varied contributions Dr. Steele made during his professional career, perhaps one of the most significant involved the control of food-borne diseases. In particular, Dr. Steele was an advocate of food irradiation, which he believed would prevent E. coli outbreaks, among other illnesses.
In 2006, Dr. Steele received the Abraham Horowitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health. This prestigious award from the Pan American Health and Education Foundation recognized Dr. Steele’s life-long contributions to veterinary public health, specifically “zoonotic” diseases that transfer from animals to humans.
Until his death on November 10, 2013, Dr. Steele remained active within his profession as Professor Emeritus, University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. He joined the UT School of Public Health’s Infectious Disease Center in 1971. He is the namesake of the school’s “James H. Steele Lecture” series, which was established to recognize his contributions and leadership in the fields of infectious disease and zoonotic diseases.
Eric Fonken, DVM, MPAff
Bonny Mayes, MA, RYT-200
Continuing Education Coordinator
Pam Wilson, DrCH, MEd, LVT, MCHES
DSHS Zoonosis Control Branch
Texas Health Institute