History - One Health Commission



History of One Health

There are many summaries of the history of the One Health movement.  Here are links to just a few:


Briefly, the modern concept of One World, One Health was put forward by the Wildlife Conservation Society at a symposium in New York in 2004. The concept was developed by six international organizations who released their joint Strategic Framework, “Contributing to One World, One Health: A Strategic Framework for Reducing Risks of Infectious Diseases at the Animal-Human-Ecosystems Interface” at the International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza (Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Oct. 2008). Since there was insufficient time to discuss the Framework at the meeting in Egypt, Canada agreed to host an international expert consultation which was held from March 16 – 19, 2009, in Winnipeg.

In parallel to those activities, many groups began working to further the One Medicine / One Health paradigm shift. One example in the western hemisphere was the emergence in 2008 of the One Health Initiative pro bono team of One Health champions. 

The One Health Commission, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was officially created in the US in 2009 as one of those early initiatives.

History of the One Health Commission

Updated September 2015 

Click here for a printable PDF

Around the World, the One Health Initiative is a call to action for the establishment of closer professional interactions, collaborations, and educational and research opportunities across the health science professions and related disciplines to improve health of people, animals, plants, and the environment.  Our changing environment now often increases human and animal contact creating significant challenges for all three domains. These challenges require integrated solutions and call for collaborative leadership. The One Health Commission was formed to facilitate these trans-disciplinary interactions.



  • April, 2007    Led by Dr. Roger Mahr, then AVMA President, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) took official action to establish a One Health Initiative by forming a One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF).  
  • June, 2007   Led by Dr. Ron Davis, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates approved  Resolution 530 (A07) calling for the AMA to “ engage in a dialogue with the American Veterinary Medical Association to discuss strategies for enhancing collaboration between human and veterinary medical professions in medical education, clinical care, public health, and biomedical research” and the AMA appointed a representative member and a liaison to the OHITF.   
  • June, 2007   Starting with three liaisons, one each from the AMA, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the AVMA, the OHITF was subsequently comprised of thirteen visionary individuals from various health science professions, academia, (including two student representatives), government, and industry. This task force worked together via teleconferences for the next 12 months discussing the need for the One Health paradigm shift. One activity was to interview stakeholder groups and individuals who were interested in the One Health Initiative to obtain their ideas on key areas and concepts that the Task Force could consider in preparing its report. Select comments from these 'Wise Person' discussion's were published online. See a narrative (Case #8, page 206) by Dr. Mahr about events in 2006-2008.
  • July, 2007   AVMA's 144th Annual Convention in Washington, DC highlighted many actions, presentations and special  sessions supporting the One Health concept and creating further momentum for the 'One Health Initiative'. The One Health concept was highlighted during the opening session in then Director of CDC,  Dr. Julie Gerberding's (MD, MPH) keynote address in which she opined the need for  veterinarians and physicians to present a seamless front to protect human and animal health in a small world.
  • November 27-28, 2007 First AVMA One Health Initiative Task Force meeting
  • July, 2008   The OHITF completed its charge by presenting a final report and twelve recommendations to the AVMA Executive Board. The recommendations formed the basic outline for an ongoing One Health Initiative. The final report was published (JAVMA, July 15, 2008) as an Executive Summary of the OHITF findings. (The full report can be found at AVMA website). Tragically, Dr. Ron Davis succumbed to pancreatic cancer in November, 2008.
  • December, 2008  An independent multidisciplinary One Health Joint Steering Committee (OHJSC) was formed (one of the twelve recommendations) and held its first organizational meeting. Eighteen member organizations comprised the 2008-2009 OHJSC.  The OHJSC facilitated a transitioning process for fulfillment of another of the twelve recommendations, creation of the One Health Commission (OHC). The Rockefeller Foundation provided a significant support grant for operations of the OHJSC for the purpose of establishing the One Health Commission.   The Rockefeller Foundation considered the formation of the OHC as the first step in establishing a global One Health Initiative to support multidisciplinary collaboration for improved human, animal and environmental health.    
  • June 29, 2009 The One Health Commission was officially chartered in Washington, D.C. as a 501(c)3, non-profit organization with eight founding institutional members. 
  • August 14, 2009 The first organizational meeting of the One Health Commission Board of Directors was held via teleconference. The OHC was determined by the IRS to be tax exempt pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, and was designated as a public charity.
  • November, 2009 A One Health Summit was held (another of the twelve recommendations) in partnership with the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C.  Nine speakers included senior officials from the USDA, CDC, FDA, NIEHS, USAID, academia, state government, and Kansas Bioscience Organization.  An Executive Summary of the One Health Summit was published online. At the Summit, the National Academies announced its intent to conduct an Institute of Medicine/National Research Council consensus study on One Health. (Unfortunately this effort never came to pass).
  • March, 2010  AMA representative to the OHC Board, Al Osbahr, M.D., becomes Chair of the Board.  OHC Council of Advisors under development.
  • October, 2010 The One Health Commission issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure an institutional leading partner(s) to provide support to fully operationalize. The RFP was sent to all accredited Colleges and Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Public Health Programs, and Veterinary Medicine in the U.S.
  • December, 2010 Iowa State University (ISU) was selected to become a leading partner with the OHC. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the OHC and ISU was finalized on January 31, 2011 by which the OHC office headquarters were established within the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center at the ISU Research Park as ‘in-kind’ support. 
  • Summer, 2012 The Commission implemented a survey of One Health Stakeholders to prioritize One  Health efforts (Contact Dr. Stroud, Executive Director, cstroud@onehealthcommission.org  if you would like to review the survey results)
  • Fall, 2012 First OHC financial sponsorship drive began. (See Sponsors Webpage) As a result, by February 2013, Institutional financial ‘Leaders’ increased and the Commission’s Board of Directors expanded (from 6) to fourteen dynamic leaders ready to carry the Commission forward. 
  • April, 2013  Founding CEO, Roger Mahr, DVM, announced intention to retire from the Commission
  • Summer, 2013   The Commission partnered with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and Bat Conservation International (BCI) to develop two bat rabies educational posters, (one child, one adult, in English, Spanish and Portuguese, free to download), that began circulating around the world.
  • October, 2013 The OHC Board selected Dr. Cheryl Stroud as (part-time) Executive Director.
  • November, 2013 The Commission began its administrative move from Iowa State University to the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.
  • March, 2014  AVMA representative to the Commission,  Joann Lindenmayer, DVM, MPH, becomes Chair of the Board.
  • January, 2015 Volunteer Website support team is created.
  • January, 2015 One Health Commission (OHC) and One Health Initiative (OHI) Pro-Bono website team write joint letter to AVMA about their increasing functional partnership.
  • October 26-27, 2015  Second Annual OHC Board ‘In-Person’ Meeting held in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted and funded (a second time) by OHC ‘Leader’ sponsor, the Georgia Aquarium.


Follow additional history and ongoing activities on the One Health Commission News webpages.


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