One Health - How was the One Health Commission Formed?

AVMA President Roger Mahr (2006-2007) revealed his vision for a "One Health initiative" to the AVMA House of Delegates on July 14, 2006.  On April 14, 2007, the AVMA Executive Board approved a recommendation proposed by Dr. Mahr to establish a One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF), formed to:

"study the feasibility of an initiative that would facilitate collaboration and cooperation among health science professions, academic institutions, governmental agencies, and industries to help with the assessment, treatment, and prevention of cross-species disease transmission and mutually prevalent, but non-transmitted, human and animal diseases and medical conditions."

The OHITF, comprised of dynamic stakeholders from targeted arenas, provided several recommendations in its final report, One Health : A New Professional Imperative. Creation of the One Health Joint Steering Committee and the development of a National One Health Commission were two of the twelve recommendations offered by the OHITF.

The One Health Joint Steering Committee (OHJSC) held its first meeting on December 3, 2008, in Washington, D. C. to discuss, among other issues, the development of a National One Health Commission. In April 2009, the Rockefeller Foundation gave $100,000 to support the creation of the One Health Commission (OHC), which was chartered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization on June 29, 2009. Led by the vision of the OHJSC, one of the OHC's first efforts was to hold the One Health Summit on November 17, 2009, in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of the importance of transcending institutional and disciplinary boundaries to improve health for all species.

The OHC was initially headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri through December of 2010. Through an alliance formed with Iowa State University (ISU) in January of 2011 through December of 2013, the OHC office headquarters were established at the ISU Research Park.  In January of 2014, the OHC administrative headquarters were relocated to the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina.  The mission of the OHC is:

"the establishment of closer professional interactions, collaborations, and educational and research opportunities across the health sciences professions, together with their related disciplines, to improve the health of people, domestic animals, wildlife, plants, and our environment."

What can you do to help the One Health concept come to fruition? Get involved. Interact with the OHC. Watch for ways to support the Commission as it brings the One Health Community together to develop plans for breaking down intra-disciplinary and organizational boundaries. When dynamic folks come together with a common cause, great things can happen.