One Health takes center stage at AVMA Convention

Published on July 02, 2019

President’s Column: Dr. John de Jong

As veterinarians, we recognize and uphold a duty to promote the health of all species and the many places in which they live. Your association is committed to helping advance awareness and understanding of the interdependency of the health of animals, humans, and the environment. What we do in our practices impacts the health of not only our patients, but also their owners and the physical world in which we live. These interconnections are why a One Health approach to caring for animals and people is so critically important for each of us.

The AVMA helps you stay up to date as we learn more about One Health. From online collections of information, resources, and guidance to our continued role as an institutional member of the One Health Commission, we’re here to provide information and support. As an example, One Health is a category featured in our growing library of veterinary continuing education courses offered on AVMA Axon, our new online digital education platform.

Also, over the past several months, my AVMA board colleagues and I have traveled to domestic and international conferences to deliver presentations and gather additional information about antimicrobial resistance, the therapeutic use of cannabinoids, emerging and zoonotic diseases, and other issues with strong One Health components. For me, the value of those conversations became fully evident when I traveled to the U.S. Public Health Symposium in Minneapolis in May and spoke with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams about our shared interests in One Health.

As I discussed with the surgeon general, the AVMA is working collaboratively with human healthcare professionals on a variety of topics, including opioids, telehealth, and the selection and care of service and emotional support animals. This is an effort to build bridges across disciplines in the true spirit of One Health. These efforts will allow us to build on the knowledge and perspectives of both the animal and human health professions, and to protect, promote, and advance the health of animals and humans alike.

As part of our commitment to continuing the conversation about One Health, the AVMA is excited that the keynote address at the 2019 AVMA Convention will be delivered by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a visiting professor in Harvard University's Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. She also is a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA, where she co-directs its Evolutionary Medicine Program.

Her medical specialty is cardiac imaging, but her academic passion is the evolutionary connection between human and animal bodies and minds. Her patients include gorillas, lions, wallabies, and, yes, humans. She is co-author of Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health, a New York Times bestselling book, and founder of the Zoobiquity conferences that bring veterinarians and physicians together for species-spanning debates and collaborations. She has said that working with veterinarians changed how she practices human medicine, and that her experiences in the world of animal medicine have transformed the way she looks at life and the living. She is a cardiologist, an author, and a friend of veterinarians and veterinary medicine. She is a true champion of One Health, and we are honored to have her speak at our upcoming convention.

If you want to hear her keynote address, please join me and thousands of other AVMA members August 2-6 in Washington, D.C. This year’s convention is sure to be a “Monumental Experience,” providing you with generous opportunities to meet and network with the best and brightest veterinarians, researchers, educators, students, practice managers, and veterinary technicians. You’ll have access to more than 920 hours of continuing education taught by the finest minds and thought leaders in our profession today. As part of these CE offerings, be sure to check out the sessions that focus on the veterinarian’s role in protecting the health of both animals and humans.

I thank all those who share our passion in helping spread the word about One Health and the critical roles veterinarians play in protecting the health of our planet. I hope you can all join us to hear Dr. Natterson-Horowitz’s presentation in Washington, D.C., and continue to promote One Health to our fellow healthcare professionals.

Register for the AVMA Convention now at



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