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Feature December 2015 Issue

What is the One Health Initiative?

The One Health Initiative is a collaborative effort of multiple health science disciplines working together to advance global health for people, animals and the environment. Examples of health science disciplines and institutions include physicians, osteopaths, veterinarians, dentists and nurses; the American Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association, American Association of Public Health Physicians, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). More than 700 prominent scientists, physicians and veterinarians worldwide have endorsed the approach.

As the human population continues to expand worldwide, the convergence of human, animal, plant and environmental health becomes increasingly important:

World population is projected to reach nine billion by 2050;

The related health science professions must work together to provide acceptable healthcare, food, and water for the global population;

Environmental health — pollution, contamination, poor conditions — affect human and animal health;

The human-animal bond positively benefits the health of humans and animals and continues to grow worldwide;

Humans and animals share common diseases such as cancer, diabetes and obesity;

Recognition that nearly 75% of emerging infectious diseases in humans originated in animals and that successful prevention and control requires coordinated human medical and veterinary approach.

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