One Health for One Planet Education (1HOPE): The Story So Far
The One Health Commission (OHC) is a 501c3 non-profit chartered in the United States in 2009, as an outcome of the One Health Initiative Task Force led in 2007 and 2008 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Medical Association (AMA), American Public Health Association (APHA), and other partners. After annual discussions, one of the twelve recommendations highlighted by this task force was how to continue to support the growing One Health movement. Hence, the OHC was created to focus on furthering the One Health concept.
With education as a primary focus, the OHC communicates credible, science-based information on One Health issues to the public through venues such as the bi-lingual ‘What is One Health’ public service radio announcement and a YouTube video. It hosts free global educational webinars that raise public awareness and educate government officials and policy makers about the economic, public health, and global security benefits of a One Health approach to shared global challenges. Since 2014, the OHC has hosted or supported more than 55 webinars on One Health topics, such as ‘Antibiotic Resistance’ and ‘Understanding Bartonella: A One Health Perspective’. The OHC also provides its online webinar platform to unincorporated One Health groups that do not otherwise have the means to share their One Health initiatives with a larger global audience.
While many One Health practitioners are not trained as ‘educators’, the need for One Health Core Competencies has always been recognized. These competencies provide a defining capability or advantage that distinguishes an enterprise from its competitors with a defined level of competence in a particular job or academic program. One of the earliest organized attempts to elucidate One Health Core Competencies (OHCC) was led by a Global One Health Core Competencies Working Group as part of the global USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program’s RESPOND Initiative (Figure 1). Convened in 2011 and 2012, this Working Group aimed to develop a guiding framework for OHCC curriculum mapping, curriculum development, and other faculty or staff development and training activities that could be customized to an audience’s need regardless of sector. Their work was published for the world to use in February 2013 in the USAID report, ‘One Health Core Competency Domains, Subdomains, and Competency Examples’. The OHC website includes a bibliography of publications addressing One Health Core Competencies, where the most recent publication was prepared by the One Health Action Collaborative of the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats. In this discussion paper, Table 1 in ‘Core Competencies in One Health Education: What Are We Missing?’ provides a list of recommended core competencies under 1) Health Knowledge, 2) Global and Local Issues in Humans, Animals, Plants, and the Environment, and 3) Professional Characteristics, each with clearly defined objectives.
Figure 1. One Health Core Competencies (OHCC) developed and led by a Global One Health Core Competencies Working Group as part of the global USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program’s RESPOND Initiative.
Across the globe, One Health is slowly being integrated into many university and professional training programs. To be fully implemented, the OHC believes that One Health education needs to start much earlier, at primary and secondary (K-12) levels, to begin reframing global attitudes toward our human place on the planet. In 2015, the OHC formed the One Health Education Task Force (OHETF), to explore ways to bring One Health education to primary and secondary (K-12) school children around the world. Calls for the creation of such a platform were made in a 2016 concept paper, ‘Preparing Society to create the world we need through One Health education’,highlighting themes that might be woven through student learning experiences including developing:
- basic values and responsibilities regarding “the community of life”;
- knowledge about the interconnectedness of life on our planet;
- real world application skills underpinned by interdisciplinary teamworking;
- creativity and group problem-solving skills; and
- a global network of One Health education providers committed to supporting learners and teachers in their quest to realize a more sustainable world through One Health implementation.
It was recognized that this would be very different in different global education systems, but it was proposed that One Health could be incorporated into existing curricula and teaching standards, such as the U.S. National Science Standards and the U.S. National Health Education Standards. As part of integrating One Health into curricula, higher education programs were encouraged to integrate core aims of the Earth Charter related to Respect and Care for the Community of Life, Ecological Integrity, Social and Economic Justice, Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace. It was pointed out that governments and public health platforms embracing One Health would provide a powerful path to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and enhanced global security. This strategy would take One Health beyond zoonotic diseases to help the world understand the many arenas begging for holistic, systems, and action-oriented approaches and recognition of the need for global One Welfare and well-being, not just for humans, but for all living creatures and ecosystems.
Zooming Out (Big Picture), Zooming In (Focusing Regionally)
In June 2016, a Press Release invited interested parties to participate in a K-12 One Health Survey and an online conference on integration of One Health into K-12 (or equivalent) educational settings. In April 2017, a summary of that online conference was published, and conference slides and a recording are available. In parallel during 2016, identifying a gap in public health education, the Commission created a Bat Rabies Education Team (BRET) focused on raising awareness among children, parents and teachers in the Americas about the risk that bats may transmit rabies. The message is “Don’t harm bats; we need them to pollinate crops and eat insects. Just don’t touch them.”
Concomitantly in 2016, the OHC partnered with the global One Health Community on an overview publication series of One Health Training, Research and Outreach global initiatives that provided a snapshot in time of One Health education (academic, government, non-profit) in China, Australia/New Zealand, North America, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Europe. [A contribution from South America was also planned, but was not realized at the time.]
Late in 2017, a One Health Social Sciences Working Group formed to educate more anthropologists, psychologists, economists, and behaviorists, about One Health and get them involved in the One Health Community. This group has led webinars on varied topics including gender issues.
In 2018, a sub-group of the One Health Education Task Force, the One Health Education-US (OHE-US), began introducing K-12 teachers in the U.S. to the One Health concept through teacher workshops presented at the U.S. National Science Teachers Association. The OHC also began a compilation of primary/secondary One Health Educational Resources and created an online One Health Opportunities webpage that serves as an easily accessible public place listing of higher One Health education programs around the world.
In the meantime, the international arm of OHETF turned its attention to strengthening a global ‘community of One Health practice.’ In 2017, interest in developing such a community was made clear when the OHC hosted the first Optimizing One Health Collaborations on-line meeting involving eight One Health-related organizations. A second Synergising One Health Collaborations meeting series was held on October 17 and 24, 2018, with 22 organizations sharing their One Health education endeavors.
All of the previously mentioned efforts made it apparent that many individuals and organizations around the world sought a mechanism to be involved in collaborative One Health Education efforts. For that reason, the OHETF was expanded and an international One Health for One Planet Education (1HOPE) initiative was launched in April 2019. Over 150 individuals from 40 countries responded, and after a series of online organizational, exploratory meetings, an Overview document was developed, incorporating these underlying themes:
- Reframing human attitudes toward the human place in the world as part of an ecological continuum rather than as the most important species
- Building character and an appreciation for all living creatures and ecosystems
- Embedding an appreciation for One Health/One Welfare that undergirds all health and well-being of all species, creatures, ecosystems and the planet
- Raising awareness of the UN-2030 SDGs and encouraging their appropriate integration across school/higher education programs or activities
- Developing international cooperation (and more mutual understanding)
Chaired by Dr. George Lueddeke of the United Kingdom, the international 1HOPE initiative will provide a platform and opportunities for individuals and organizations to get involved in collaborative activities that will further One Health for One Planet educational programs and activities around the world. Currently, a 1HOPE Planning Team and Working Groups are being formed to create and implement One Health education activities for primary, secondary (K-12), tertiary (university), civil society/community, government, and corporate audiences around the world. These Working Groups will be self-driven, setting their own agendas with input and advice from the OHC, the One Health Initiative Team, and the broader One Health community. The OHC will provide online meeting, communications, and survey platforms as needed, but each group will provide its own administrative oversight and support. At least two co-facilitators will be needed to drive each group in establishing direction and activities. A 1HOPE online group documents folder, Facebook page, and any other desirable social media will be created. Anyone interested to participate in the international 1HOPE initiative is invited to contact Dr. Lueddeke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting the Next Generation of One Health Professionals and Leaders
As an aside for students currently in One Health training programs, in 2015, the OHC brought student representatives from human, animal, environmental (and sought for plant) health domains onto its Board of Directors. Those students saw a need for and formed an independent International Student One Health Alliance (ISOHA), for which the OHC serves as the parent organization (Figure 2). They have established ISOHA country representatives, a One Health mentor program, and have been connecting student groups working for One Health around the globe in a Who’s Who in Students for One Health interactive spreadsheet and map and in Who’s Who in SOH webinars. A new group of ISOHA Executive Council leaders has assumed the leadership responsibilities.
Lastly, all endeavors of the OHC are driven and accomplished by and for individuals and organizations that make up a growing and thriving global One Health Community. This Community is open to partnering on many fronts on multiple One Health educational efforts. This community urges you to Connect, Create, and Educate for One Health....Find ‘YOUR’ place to get involved.