One Health Communication and Education
As the final months of 2019 drew to a close, a serendipitous event took place in the area of One Health that would resonate across the United States. After several bills were passed beginning in early 2019 (see Stuteville’s article and Dunham’s and Kaplan’s article, OHNL Vol.1, Issue 1, Jan 2019), a bipartisan United States Senate Resolution (S.Res.462) was introduced and passed on December 19, 2019. This resolution documented that January 2020 was designated as “National One Health Awareness Month”, providing recognition for organizations focusing on initiatives interconnected with human, animal, and environmental health. Likewise, Congressmen Kurt Schrader (R-Oregon) and Ted Yoho (R-Florida), who are two of three veterinarians in the U.S. Congress, introduced the bipartisan Resolution H. Res. 794 on January 14, 2020. Led by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Senator Martha McSally (R-Arizona), it had six co-sponsors (Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Angus King Jr., I-Maine; Gary Peters, D-Michigan; Tina Smith, D-Minnesota; and Robert Casey Jr., D-Pennsylvania). The opening statement of S. Res. 462 is as follows: Designating January 2020 as ‘‘National One Health Awareness Month’’ to promote awareness of organizations focused on public health, animal health, and environmental health collaboration throughout the United States and to recognize the critical contributions of those organizations to the future of the United States. This resolution was passed with unanimous consent of all 100 United States’ Senators. The formal press release was disseminated as a “Senate Passes Bipartisan ‘One Health’ Awareness Month Resolution” by Senator Feinstein’s office.
With national attention on One Health, the question remains: as a society, how can we promote the One Health concept and encourage communication among stakeholders of diverse disciplines on emerging health topics? How can we strengthen scientific communication with audiences in K-12, colleges and universities, and the general community? By identifying the threats posed by risks to One Health, how can we best organize local, state, and national collaborations that mitigate risk and safeguard population health? Moving forward, these reflections can provide insight on enhancing the development, implementation, and dissemination of programmatic outcomes and research findings as they relate to ecosystem health.
In addition to the US Bilateral Agencies (e.g., United States Agency for International Development; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), international agencies have also adopted the One Health concept (e.g., World Health Organization; World Bank; United Nations Children's Fund), as well as numerous non-governmental organizations which also work in this space (e.g., Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières; CARE International; Population Services International). We must also welcome low- and middle-income countries (e.g., India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) which have created, in their own ministry of health and agriculture, sections to endorse the One Health approach in development and health policies.
In the current issue of the OHNL, we are reminded of the role of communication and education strategies to promote the One Health concept. Rohini Roopnarine (School of Veterinary Medicine, St. George’s University, Grenada) outlines how Interprofessional Education (IPE) can serve as an innovative approach to strengthen medical and veterinary education and training. Dr. Sandy Procter (State Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor at Kansas State University Research & Extension) introduces the Cooperative Extension System and potential role to link community activities with the One Health concept. Dr. Susan Alexander (College of Nursing, University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA) offers insight on the role of current satellite-based data and an upcoming mission to learn more about the global ecosystem that affects human health. Valerie Jojola-Mount (OHNL student editor) and Dr. Ellyn Mulcahy (OHNL editor, Kansas State University) review The Tripartite Guide, which was released in March 2019 by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the World Health Organization. Dr. Deborah Thomson (American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Washington, DC) outlines her strategies for one health education in the K-12 classroom. Dr. Cheryl Stroud (One Health Commission, Apex, NC) reviews One Health Core Competencies, the work of the One Health Commission, and a recent international educational initiative, One Health for One Planet Education (1HOPE). Finally, Dr. Jean-Paul Gonzalez (OHNL editor, Georgetown University, USA) reviews a book by Marc Souris (Institute of Research for Development, France) about the major tools available for an integrated One Health approach: Epidemiology and Geography: Principles, Methods and Tools of Spatial Analysis. Also, on behalf of One Health advocacy, and as a keynote speaker, Dr. Gonzalez reports on One Health as a new and comprehensive concept on medical sciences at a pioneering meeting held in Western Europe on “One Health and Tropical Medicine”.
In a very concrete way, so as not to put an end to this reflection on "One Health Communication and Education", it must be understood that this chapter is the one that announces and will ensure in its content, the sustainability of the completion of a unique health. Beyond that, One Health will prevail, and already does, in the international scientific community. Moreover, this will not only include medical, life, or environmental sciences, but also incorporate the human, social, economic, and political sciences, and prepares new generations of young scientists to work together, without disciplinary limits, for the wellbeing and health of all.
The emergence of a new Coronavirus (COVID-2019) in the past few months has demonstrated, in real time, the intricate relationships between pathogens, their hosts, and the environment. This new viral pathogen, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – CoV-2 ((SARS-CoV-2), causes the disease, COVID-19, and presents with a range of symptoms from mild cold-like symptoms, to life threatening pneumonia. COVID-19 appears as an emerging zoonotic disease, mirroring how SARS-CoV-2 crossed the species barrier. Like its predecessors from the same virus family, SARS-1 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, this virus is accompanied by rapid worldwide elevated social and economic damage. The World Health Organziation Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, referred to this new pathogen and global response as “a test of solidarity -- political, financial and scientific”.
For our readers interesting in learning more about this novel virus, please see this resource list prepared by our colleagues at the One Health Initiative (OHI) http://onehealthinitiative.com/covid-19.php
Next story: Why Teach Children about One Health?