The ‘One Health’ initiative took center stage at the opening session of the National Institute of Animal Agriculture’s annual meeting taking place this week in Kansas City, Mo. One Health is a movement to focus efforts between physicians and veterinarians and other scientific health disciplines to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment.

The One Health initiative began in 2007 after collaboration between the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Medical Association. The initiative was designed to communicate and coordinate efforts among health professionals, academic institutions and the animal production industry in improving health locally, nationally and globally.

One health is dedicated to improving the lives of all species- human and animal- through the integration of human and veterinary medicine. “This will require improved communication, coordination and collaboration among our various professional associations, academia, government and industry,” says Roger Mahr, DVM, chief executive officer of the One Health Commission. “The convergence of animal, human and environmental health dictate that One Health must be embraced.”
Mahr cites recent disease outbreaks such as tuberculosis, HIV, West Nile virus and avian influenza that underscore the concept and importance of One Health. “Fostering relationships and improving communication among organizations such as World Health Organization, World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization will enhance the improvement of global health,” Mahr says.

Mahr’s vision is that success of the One Health strategy in the United States would be advanced to the international arena by the One Health commission. “By working together we can convert our current challenges into opportunities to improve the lives of our constituents, our colleagues and society in general.”