*An editorial opinion...
Winston S. Churchill
Obstacle to national and international ‘One Medicine-One Health’ Expansion—“Silo-itis”
Human nature seems to dictate a degree of tribalism in society among individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and governments. Some good and some not so good.
The true spirit of the “One Medicine-One Health” concept/approach has always been highlighted by the altruistic principles of co-equal collaboration, co-operation, sharing and teamwork. “No man [or woman] is an island, entire of itself”.
The One Medicine-One Health movement during the early 21st century has achieved enormous international recognition and success—and rightly so! It has unequivocally demonstrated its ability in the past, present and future to “... help protect and/or save untold millions of lives in our generation and for those to come.”
To a great extent this has resulted from a conglomerate of many individualistic remarkable activities operating with others, e.g. http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/publications/2ST26%20B%20Kaplan%20-%208877.pdf. There are a host of excellent One Health websites www.onehealthinitiative.com, https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/One-Health94.aspx, https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/index.html, https://onehealthplatform.com/, https://www.onehealthcommission.org/ and others, journals http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/journals.php and textbooks http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/animalHumans.php that promote fine One Health activities worldwide.
However, in a December 2017 interview with the Pan European Networks, Science and Technology’s Journal, see http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/publications/ST25%20B%20Kaplan%20-%202044%20atl%20special.pdf, when the One Health Initiative (OHI) team was asked the tell-tale question:
“Collaboration among all the health sciences to address critical needs is crucial, especially between the veterinary medical and human medical professions. What are the biggest barriers to this, and could more be done on the part of the different sectors?
OHI team answers were: “One Health supporters (see: http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/supporters.php) recognise the urgency for a ‘One Health approach’. However, among some actively operating One Health institutional silos (worldwide), there remains a reluctance to share resources, credit others or allude to other major players active within the One Health movement. Former environmental consultant for the Florida Department of Health, US, Dr Mary Echols wrote in Veterinaria Italiana, 2009 (see: http://www.izs.it/vet_italiana/2009/45_3/377.pdf): ‘…no single person, no single health profession, no single organisation, no single nation or people invented or owns One Health…’ [Tom] Yuill [PhD] says: “The barriers are often best described as defence of ‘turf’ between professions and specialties.” [Lisa]Conti [DVM, MPH] adds: “Barriers include changing the environment to support these collaborations. As noted in the first question, (much) progress is being made, but leadership and incentives (resources and recognition) are all needed to continue fostering this change.” … Later, Laura Kahn, MD said, ““There are still plenty of silos that need to be opened. This is easier said than done…”
Usually left unsaid, but not unnoticed are occasional problematic notable omissions from some One Health oriented websites, ‘scientific’ professional journal articles, and books. Citations relative to current and early 21st century historical One Health contributions are inexplicably missing i.e. “no credit where credit is due”—thus creating a false narrative which risks historical distortion(s). Concentration of references sometimes appear to be only towards including regional publications etc. A few individuals (actually prominent One Health activists) apparently seek self-aggrandisement via their One Health reputations—much of it paradoxically beneficial. It serves no useful purpose to name them in hopes that they may someday reform.
One potential solution to detrimental “silo-itis” and harmful tribalism would be for ALL One Health oriented websites to begin—front and center—listing appropriate OTHER website resources and references on their Home Pages or in suitable location(s) as is done in previously mentioned website examples. These would serve as recognizing other available educational assets for readers to consider consulting.
“Let us [ALL] go forward together”
“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” –Sir Winston Churchill
*The One Health Initiative team/website welcomes opposing and/or supportive views from ALL reputable One Medicine-One Health entities, worldwide. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We will entertain posting them on the OHI website ASAP.