As Director of International Programs in Veterinary Medicine, Diesch was able to provide international leadership on the control of animal disease, including a joint project in Uruguay on Foot & Mouth disease in cattle. Following his impressive work with Partners of the Americas Program, the President of Uruguay named Diesch Honorary Consul for Uruguay in Minnesota, 1990-1996.
Stanley Diesch’s problem-solving ability in agriculture is due in part to growing up on a farm in Dodge County, Minn. Salutatorian of his class, Diesch graduated from Blooming Prairie High School in 1943, and went on, over the next 20 years, to receive three degrees from the University of Minnesota—a bachelor’s in agriculture, a DVM in Veterinary Medicine and a master’s degree in public health. In 1984, Diesch joined the list of board-certified professionals in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine with a subspecialty in epidemiology.
In both his private practice and academic work, he carried a heavy load while working to expand agricultural systems around the world. After graduation and a year of general practice in Freeport, Ill., Diesch owned and conducted a large-animal practice in Winthrop, Iowa, for five years. From 1963-1966 he was an assistant professor and chief epidemiologist at the Institute of Agricultural Medicine at the University of Iowa Medical School. He spent the next 30 years at the University of Minnesota, as a professor in the Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, and then as a joint appointment in the Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health. Diesch also served as the Director of International Veterinary Medicine Programs from 1985-1998.
Diesch was one of the very first to document serovars hardjo and grippotyphosa (leptospires that cause abortion in cattle), which led to vaccines to protect cattle and reduce exposure to farmers and agricultural workers, and later to develop the disease surveillance system. Diesch sees the broader perspective in agriculture—the inseparable nature of animal and human health—through the more recently coined “One Health” approach, and was named a Pioneer in One Health by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012.
Diesch’s work has been seen in more than 100 publications, including the New England Journal of Medicine. Today, he is known as the ultimate team player, collaborator and world expert on disease and environments.