What is One Health?

The One Health Intellectual Exchange course is off and running! The first meeting of the semester, taking place on January 10, featured a panel of North Carolina One Health Collaborative Steering Committee Members and provided students with an overview of the One Health movement.

After an introduction to the concept, course, and consortium by One Health Chair Dr. Cheryl Stroud, Dr. Chris Woods, Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology at Duke University, discussed what led him to work with One Health as well as his perspective on what One Health means. To paraphrase, One Health is a holistic approach to solving the world’s public health problems.

Dr. Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf, Research Professor of Wildlife Infectious Disease in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, presented three photos of animals that weren’t quite normal and challenged us to identify what was going on. One that sticks out was a koala being given water on a road by a biker. Upon reflection by several participants, we concluded that a severe drought in Australia in 2009 had resulted in animals, like the koala, taking extreme measures to survive (in this case, a koala leaving the comfort of eucalyptus trees to approach humans for water). When wild animals interact with humans, something most likely is wrong. Furthermore, since over 70% of emerging infectious diseases originate in wildlife, these interactions are an even greater cause for concern.

Australia, 2009: What’s going on?

To wrap up the first session, Dr. Vivian Doelling, Senior Scientist, NICEATM, Integrated Laboratory Systems, reflected on the role and perspective of industry regarding veterinary vaccines. In case you missed it: There are a lot of veterinary vaccines! Around 2000 products target 213 different animal diseases. How do we balance the needs of disease prevention and safety with the profit-driven nature of the producers? Who pays for certain vaccines for animals aimed at protecting human health? This topic led to a valuable discussion which will hopefully continue in the coming weeks.

Up next (17 Jan 2012): Dr. Stroud and Rear Admiral William Stokes of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science will be discussing “The One Health Journey: Personal Epiphanies & the History of One Health.”

Post authored by: Micheal Zelek, UNC MPH candidate

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