What is One Health? - One Health Commission

What is One Health?

Definitions of One Health
One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach - working at local, regional, national, and global levels - to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes recognizing the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment.

Previous OHC definition:
One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple health science professions, together with their related disciplines and institutions – working locally, nationally, and globally – to attain optimal health for people, domestic animals, wildlife, plants, and our environment.
2019 Student's Description

"At its core, One Health .....  is rooted in understanding the interdependence of human and natural systems and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration. Some of the global issues One Health works to address include environmental contamination, habitat use conflicts, biodiversity loss, emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and ecosystem function degradation. In addition, the social determinants of health (e.g. SES, education, neighborhood and built environment, social and community context) play a critical role in health and thus, there’s a strong social and environmental justice aspect to One Health."  Evan Griffith, M.S., DVM  / MPH candidate at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Tufts School of Medicine, North Grafton and Medford, Massachusetts, USA

  • Planetary Environmental health may affect human and animal health through contamination, pollution and changing climate conditions that may lead to emergence of new infectious agents.
  • Worldwide, nearly 75 percent of all emerging human infectious diseases in the past three decades originated in animals.
  • The world population is projected to grow from 7 billion in 2011 to 9 billion by 2050.
  • To provide adequate healthcare, food and water for the growing global population, the health professions, and their related disciplines and institutions, must work together.
  • Human-animal interactions / bonds can beneficially impact the health of both people and animals.

Scope of One Health
Some people misunderstand and think that One Health is about everything therefore if must be about nothing.  But the truth is that One Health thinking (see definition above) and using the One Health approach is needed in so many arenas that it just seems to be about 'everything'. Here are a few arenas that urgently need the One Health approach, at all levels of academia, government, industry, policy and research,  because of the inextricable interconnectedness of animal, environmental, human and plant health. Convergence of human, animal, and plant health and the health of the environment
  • Human-animal bond
  • Professional education and training of the Next Generation of One Health professionals
  • Research, both basic and translational
  • Ensuring a safe food and water supply that is high quality, available and affordable
  • Agricultural production and land use / soil health
  • Natural resources and conservation
  • Disease surveillance, prevention and response, both infectious and chronic diseases
  • Comparative Medicine: commonality of diseases among people and  animals, such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes
  • Clinical medicine needs for interrelationship between the health professions
  • Environmental agent detection and response
  • Disaster preparedness and response
  • Public policy and regulation
  • Global trade, commerce and security
  • Communications and outreach
Potential Outcomes from the One Health Approach
  • More interdisciplinary programs in education, training, research, and established policy 
  • More information sharing related to disease detection, diagnosis, education and research 
  • More prevention of diseases, both infectious and chronic
  • Development of new therapies and approaches to treatments

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) One Health Infographic

One Health: A Ray of Hope 



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