One Health task force issues report, makes recommendations

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Jul 17, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Schaumburg, Ill. - A task force appointed last year to define the mission of the One Health Initiative issued its report, making a number of recommendations on how the human/animal medicine collaboration should proceed.

With dependency on animal-based protein increasing while pathogens move across species lines, One Health seeks to "improve and promote the health of humans, animals and our environment, individually and collectively," according to the report, which can be read in its entirety on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Web site.

The wide scope of One Health, as defined by the task force, includes agro- and bio-terrorism, clinical medicine, conservation medicine, global food and water systems, microbiology education and public health and public policy.

Needs within the collaboration on these topics include identifying areas where human, animal and environmental health already are integrated. One example given was collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Envirovet Summer Institutes and the National Science Foundation.

One Health also must identify the most critical needs to be addressed, specifically plans for outbreaks of human/animal diseases like E.coli. More training for health professionals targeting environmental health as it relates to human/animal diseases also is critical, the task force notes, in addition to cooperation among local, national and global leaders.

Many of the other recommendations should be handled through the creation of a joint steering committee, the task force reports. Those recommendations include creating a One Health proposal for donors, a business plan, engaging a communications firm to facilitate public-relations efforts, developing and chartering a National One Health Commission with a full-time staff by March 2009, hosting a national One Health summit and establishing a national research agenda.

Until now, the AVMA has been the sole financier of the One Health initiative, allocating about $38,000 on the project to date. The American Medical Association (AMA), the other leader in the initiative, was waiting until the task force report was completed and could be reviewed before helping to fund it, according to an AMA spokesperson.