Two One Health Programs work to integrate human health into “One Health” (USA)
*Peter M. Rabinowitz, MD, MPH and **Eleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP
Provided to the One Health Initiative website www.onehealthinitiative.com on April 8, 2015
While One Health stresses the interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation between human, animal, and environmental health professionals, as well as other disciplines, some have reported that human health has been underrepresented in current One Health efforts at the University level. In response to this need, two U.S. One Health Programs, one based at Texas A&M University and the other at the University of Washington, are taking innovative steps to bring more human health care professionals into the realm of One Health.
At Texas A&M University, a One Health initiative was formed in 2013 following discussions between the deans of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and the College of Medicine. Soon afterwards, “One Health” was designated a university Grand Challenge, signifying an important societal impact area built upon notable university strengths.
An essential component of the One Health Grand Challenge is active participation by multiple colleges across the university and today all colleges at Texas A&M are contributing. While educational, research, and outreach programs in One Health are expanding, one prime example of the partnership between human and veterinary health care professionals with an inclusive approach is the summer practicum experience in Ometepe, Nicaragua.
A multidisciplinary team of students and faculty include medical students, veterinary medical students, public health students, and agriculture from Texas A&M University http://onehealth.tamu.edu/about/partners and other universities, the first being the University of California Davis (USA) http://globalhealth.ucdavis.edu/initiatives/one_health.html. The students train and work together to collect data to determine the major health challenges in people, animals, and the environment and to provide sustainable solutions for the community, doing so with full understanding of local culture, assets, and limitations. They provide clinical care to both people and animals in a rural setting.
At the clinic sites, there is true cross coverage and cross training among the students, with the medical students working with the local veterinarian to take care of the animal patients and the veterinary medical students working with the physician in the care of the human patients. Through this model there is a continuous rotation of students working in all areas of human, animal, and public health.
Based upon surveys, human and animal patient examinations, and diagnostic testing, areas of needed focus are determined. Nicaragua is certain to benefit from this One Health approach, which is identifying tangible connections between human, animal, and environmental health. Each year new One Health care teams will visit Nicaragua to build upon the findings and recommendations of previous teams. In addition, as part of recent curriculum revisions in College of Medicine, Texas A&M medical students will now be able to choose a One Health emphasis as an elective component of their training, resulting in a certificate in One Health. The certificate in One Health is also available to all professional students across Texas A&M University, including veterinary medical students. The students have also formed a Student One Health Association.
At the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, the recently formed UW Center for One Health Research (COHR) http://deohs.washington.edu/cohr/ is one of the few One Health programs nationally that is based in a public health/medical school complex rather than primarily at a veterinary medical school. COHR is serving as a means for medical and public health students, including global health and environmental health majors, to get involved with One Health efforts, including programs at the Washington State College of Veterinary Medicine.
University of Washington medical students recently teamed up with their counterparts in the WSU College of Veterinary medicine to create student posters for the Zoobiquity http://zoobiquity.com/ 4 conference held in Seattle in November 2014, collaborating on subjects such as Ebola infections across species. UW medical students and public health students are actively working with the Center for One Health Research on a number of projects, including investigation of E coli O157 infections in humans and animals, sharing of microbiome between humans and domestic animals, antibiotic resistance in different species, and the effect of natural gas extraction activities on the health of humans and animals. COHR has also proposed starting a training track for animal and human health professionals (Occupational Health at the Human Health Interface: OHHAI) to prepare them for careers involved in research and practice regarding the unique occupational health needs of animal workers including workers in animal agriculture, veterinary workers, and workers with wildlife contact. COHR has applied to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for funding for this program and is hoping to initiate training activities later this year.
*Dr. Peter M. Rabinowitz http://deohs.washington.edu/faculty/rabinowitz_peter, a physician One Health leader, is director of the UW Center for One Health research in Seattle, Washington (USA). Dr. Rabinowitz is a longstanding collaborator with the One Health Initiative team and concomitantly a member of the One Health Initiative team’s Honorary Advisory Board http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/advBoard.php. Notably, Dr. Rabinowitz and Dr. Lisa A. Conti [DVM, MPH], an internationally recognized veterinarian One Health leader and member of the One Health Initiative team, collaborated jointly to co-write/edit and publish the landmark One Health textbook Human-Animal Medicine – Clinical Approaches to Zoonoses, Toxicants and other Shared Health Risks http://www.us.elsevierhealth.com/product.jsp?isbn=9781416068372 - 1st Edition (2010).
**Dr. Eleanor M. Green http://vetmed.tamu.edu/dean, a veterinarian One Health leader, is Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas (USA) and a longstanding One Health Supporter http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/supporters.php. Dr. Green’s progressive interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary One Health leadership at Texas A & M has been previously documented on the OHI website: http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/news.php?query=Texas+A+%26+M.