Posted Dec. 31, 2012
The One Health Commission has begun inviting individuals and corporations to become members, along with institutions, and is expanding efforts to promote the one-health approach.
The one-health concept is that the health of humans, animals, and the ecosystem is intertwined. The OHC advocates a one-health approach of collaboration among disciplines to improve health locally, nationally, and globally.
”The One Health Commission is excited to be entering the next phase of its visionary development towards one health,” said Dr. Roger K. Mahr, OHC chief executive officer. “The new membership program provides a special opportunity for all health professions and their related disciplines to become a vital part of this exciting future.
“The commission seeks to engage collaborative leadership and expertise from across multiple disciplines and organizations to help tackle the high-priority health challenges of our global society.”
The founding members of the OHC were institutions such as the AVMA. The new membership model has categories not only for institutions but also for individuals and corporations. In November 2012, the AVMA Executive Board approved a contribution of $5,000 for the AVMA to continue as an institutional member of the commission.
Commission members have opportunities to participate in the OHC varying by category and contribution level. Institutions at the highest contribution level, such as the AVMA, may nominate a representative to the board. Other opportunities for members include participation in the advisory council or in working groups.
“I perceive a desire in the one-health community to be involved,” said Dr. Cheryl M. Stroud, AVMA representative to the commission. “People who feel strongly and have a passion for making one health a reality, making the concept of one health really happen, can get involved and make that happen.”
The goals of the OHC, headquartered at Iowa State University, are to inform all audiences about the interdisciplinary one-health approach and to facilitate projects to demonstrate the value of the approach.
The commission is collaborating with the ISU Center for Food Security and Public Health on the first demonstration project, a book on zoonoses of companion animals. The OHC is seeking sponsors to provide the book for free to students of veterinary medicine, human medicine, and public health. The book also will become available to health care practitioners.
Dr. Stroud is pursuing two potential projects for the OHC. One is a possible partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to distribute educational posters about rabies in bats. The other is an idea from the Student AVMA for a one-health congress for students of veterinary medicine, human medicine, and public health.
In June 2012, the OHC surveyed its board and advisory council as well as more than 150 individual stakeholders about how to prioritize one-health challenges. All three groups listed infectious diseases as the top priority. Other high priorities were food and water safety and security, ecosystem health, and antimicrobial resistance.
The OHC adopted a strategic plan in September 2012 and is working on a joint strategic plan with ISU. The plan includes development of an annual one-health symposium.
“There are so many bubbles of one-health activity around the country and around the world, but there was no good mechanism to connect us,” Dr. Stroud said. “The way I see it, what the commission can really do, what it’s trying to do, is to be the connector, to bring the one-health community together to accomplish significant things together that cannot be accomplished alone.”