Task force to study one-health initiative

Individuals from health science professions, academia, government, industry expected to participate
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On recommendation from AVMA President Roger K. Mahr, the Executive Board approved the establishment of a One Health Initiative Task Force.

Dr. Roger K. Mahr

The task force was charged with articulating a vision of one health that will enhance the integration of animal, human, and environmental health for the mutual benefit of all.

The task force will identify areas where such integration exists and where it is needed, potential barriers or challenges to such integration, and potential solutions to overcoming barriers or meeting challenges.

The task force will consist of 12 influential individuals who have an appreciation for the one-health concept and who are "excellent communicators, collaborators, and forward thinkers" from health science professions, academia, government, and industry. The board will be presented with a written report from the task force, detailing its findings and recommendations. The cost of the task force was estimated at $24,000 on the basis of 2007 travel estimates for two two-day meetings.

"I consider the One Health Initiative Task Force as the first step, and most critically important, of the one-health initiative," Dr. Mahr later said. "I envision the success of this task force will lead to an integrated national strategy for one health, one medicine."

Dr. Mahr has long been an advocate of the one-health concept. In his address to the AVMA House of Delegates this past July, he presented his vision for a national one-health initiative uniting veterinary and human medicine, with the goal of improving and protecting animal and public health worldwide.

At the November 2006 board meeting, a recommendation to establish a National Summit on the One Health Initiative Steering Committee and host a National One Health Summit was submitted by three AVMA councils and two committees. The board disapproved the recommendation, but Dr. Mahr noted at the time that he would use the valuable input generated by the recommendation to come forward with another proposal at the April meeting.

In his recommendation for the task force, Dr. Mahr noted that potential outcomes of a one-health initiative include the following:

  • enhanced collaboration among colleges of veterinary medicine in developing centers of excellence for education and training in specific underserved areas
  • enhanced collaboration among veterinary clinicians and researchers to embrace the concept of translational medicine—medicine from the research bench to the patient, in urban clinics, on farm, or in the wild
  • collaboration between the veterinary and human medical professions to address critical needs to improve animal and human health globally
  • collaboration among multiple professions—veterinary, human medicine, ecology, wildlife, and public health—to meet new global challenges head-on
  • increased employment opportunities for veterinarians
  • recognition of veterinarians' contribution to the health and well-being of all society