by Richard Riegelman MD, MPH, PhD Profession and Founding Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University
As Zika spreads to the U.S., climate change becomes a daily reality, and the presence of antibiotic resistance becomes a threat to human health, the One Health movement has emerged to help us understand how it all fits together. One Health looks at the relationship between human, animal, and ecosystem health and offers the potential for dramatic progress if the health professions work together to address these issues.
The One Health movement began over a decade ago when the veterinary medicine community put forth a movement designed to highlight the fact that most emerging and re-emerging diseases from AIDS to SARS originated in animals and only later crossed into humans. The scope of One Health has expanded in the last decade to include the impact of climate change, the effects of misuse of antibiotics on animals as well as humans, and the recent epidemics of Ebola and Zika. It also has benefited from the increasing understanding of the importance of the human-animal bond.
The One Health approach has been widely accepted in the policy arena including efforts by the CDC, the World Bank, and the European Union to build One Health approaches into their policy efforts. The effort to educate health professions students, however, is more recent and rapidly developing spearheaded by the One Health Interprofessonal Education Working Group. In 2014 and 2015 the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) partnered with the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force with representation from medicine, public health, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistants and allied health to develop a One Health education framework and One Health case studies.
The formal roll-out of widespread One Health education is symbolized by the first annual One Health Day November 3, 2016. “The One Health Day campaign is designed to engage as many individuals as possible from as many arenas as possible in One Health education and awareness events…” For more information on One Health Day see www.onehealthday.org
On October 30, 2016 the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) announced new requirements for teaching One Health principles as part of public health education, a landmark event which reflects the acceptance of One Health as central to population health. See www.ceph.org for more information.
To help move these efforts forward for health professions students, Jones and Bartlett Learning has just published One Health: From AIDS to Zika authored by myself and Brenda Kirkwood. This free-standing 58 page publication uses the educational framework recommended by the One Health Interprofessional Education Working Group. It includes the essentials that students need to know with abundant illustrations of the relationships between human, animal, and ecosystem health organized into three sections:
- Microbiological influences on health and disease
- Ecosystem health/physical environment
- Human-animal interaction
An Instructor’s Guide, test-bank questions, and PowerPoints are provided including advice on integrating One Health education into undergraduate and graduate clinical and public health education. For an examination copy, go to http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/9781284136746/ and click 'Instructor's Review Copy'.
One Health education may be new to many of you, but it will not be new for long. It is gaining acceptance as a key strategy for developing interprofessional collaboration and for addressing many of today’s and tomorrow’s most pressing population health issues. We hope that One Health: From AIDS to Zika will help make that happen.