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One Health and Planetary Health - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

University of Washington - Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Center for One Health Research Blog

One Health and Planetary Health

  • See complete article in link:
  • In 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation released a major report about the state of the planet, called Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch. This document outlines the case that anthropogenic changes in the environment are now threatening the basic life support services of the earth’s systems. Some of the concerning trends include biodiversity loss, climate change, particulate air pollution, ocean acidification, and deforestation. The report indicates a number of ways that this environmental degradation can pose a serious threat to human health in the future, and calls for urgent research and policy action to address these large-scale problems.
  • At the Center for One Health Research (COHR), we view these critical environmental threats highlighted by the Rockefeller Planetary Health Report as intrinsic to our understanding and application of One Health.
  • The COHR approach to One Health is to look at the interconnections between hierarchically organized systems of human, animal, and environmental health, as depicted in this figure.
  • SEE FIGURE provided in link.
  • Each domain of health: human, animal, and environment, can be seen as a system of increasing complexity, from the molecular level, up to the individual level, and higher to the community, and finally “planetary” level where global populations of humans and animals are interacting with biosphere forces, as detailed in the Planetary Health report.
  • The utility of the One Health approach to planetary health is that it shows how interactions at simpler levels, such as emerging infectious diseases in individuals or small populations, can be connected to higher level interactions with environmental drivers such as climate change and deforestation. In the same way, an “animal sentinel event”, such as a sudden stranding of whales or other marine mammals, while sometimes traceable to a proximate cause such as a viral infection or a toxic exposure, may be telling us something about greater environmental forces at work, including the effects of an expanding human population.
  • This  figure of interconnected human, animal, and environmental One Health systems, shows how an animal sentinel event at an individual or group level,  can be scaled up to shed light on planetary level forces.
  • SEE FIGURE provided in link.
  • A key advantage to using the One Health approach to address large-scale health issues related to environmental change is that animal populations, like the canary in the coalmine, may be more sensitive to the effects of a changing environment. For example, the Rockefeller report mentions the paradox of human health indicators currently improving across the globe despite the many signs of environmental degradation. By contrast, the increase in animal disease outbreaks and extinctions is easier to connect to the environmental changes.
  • While many of the interactions between environmental forces and both humans and animals can be negative, One Health can also provide a model for sustainability of these interconnected systems. For example, a farm with animals, if managed in a One Health way that optimizes the health of the humans (both farmworkers and consumers and community members) as well as the animals and the local environment, can provide a scalable model that will go far toward mitigating the environmental consequences of large scale food production. One Health therefore goes “local to global”, or, more accurately, “molecular to planetary”.
  • We encourage our colleagues working on One Health efforts to consider how to establish clear linkages between smaller scale interactions they may be investigating (such as zoonotic disease outbreaks) and the larger issues of a rapidly changing, and not so healthy, planet.

Editor’s comment: This presentation represents a thoughtful and reasonable assessment approach.  

Article provided by:

Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH
Associate Professor,University of Washington
Depts of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences,
Global Health, Family Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)
Director, Center for One Health Research (COHR)

Dr. Rabinowitz is a longstanding One Health supporter/advocate and member of the One Health Initiative team’s Advisory Board

Historical Footnote: Regarding this issue, “A new Promotional published in The Lancet…in need of revision!”: was assessed as being incomplete and posted on the One Health Initiative website by the One Health Initiative team Saturday, May 10, 2014  Entitled “From public to planetary health: a manifesto”; published in The Lancet’s Correspondence: Vol 383 April 26, 2014—Page 1459.

Incorporating one health into medical education - Saturday, May 27, 2017

In light of the preceding NEWS item from The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)


“The professional and student organisations representing the Medical Doctors, the Dentists, the Veterinarians and their students sent a letter to the Deans of medical, dental and veterinary schools across Europe inviting them to work collaboratively under the ‘One Health’ concept to tackle current and future challenges for the three professions and our society.

The letter is here available

The following previously noted publication is essential for all U.S. and international Medical Schools to seriously consider!


BioMed Central

Posted One Health Initiative website Sunday, February 26, 2017.

 Open Access

Incorporating one health into medical education

Published: 23 February 2017

  • Peter M. Rabinowitz1Email author,
  • Barbara J. Natterson-Horowitz2,
  • Laura H. Kahn3,
  • Richard Kock4 and
  • Marguerite Pappaioanou5


“One Health is an emerging concept that stresses the linkages between human, animal, and environmental health, as well as the need for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration to address health issues including emerging zoonotic diseases, climate change impacts, and the human-animal bond. It promotes complex problem solving using a systems framework that considers interactions between humans, animals, and their shared environment. While many medical educators may not yet be familiar with the concept, the One Health approach has been endorsed by a number of major medical and public health organizations and is beginning to be implemented in a number of medical schools. In the research setting, One Health opens up new avenues to understand, detect, and prevent emerging infectious diseases, and also to conduct translational studies across species. In the clinical setting, One Health provides practical ways to incorporate environmental and animal contact considerations into patient care. This paper reviews clinical and research aspects of the One Health approach through an illustrative case updating the biopsychosocial model and proposes a basic set of One Health competencies for training and education of human health care providers.”

European medical schools urged to adopt ‘One Health’ approach - Thursday, May 25, 2017

European medical schools urged to adopt ‘One Health’ approach and SEE letter co-signed by six organisations including the Standing Committee of European Doctors and the European Medical Students Association


"While the One Health approach has recently gained recognition in Europe and worldwide, the organisations said its application in education needs to ..."

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Health ministers in G20 Summit commit to address antimicrobial resistance - Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Health ministers in G20 Summit commit to address antimicrobial resistance

Down To Earth Magazine (press release) (registration) (blog)

In accordance with the fact that AMR is a One-Health issue, the Declaration extends support to AMR-specific mandates of the WHO, Food and ...

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Images of One Health - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Images of One Health

 Image result for one health



67th Annual James Steele Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man (DIN) - Monday, May 22, 2017

One Health

67th Annual James Steele Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man (DIN)

May/24/2017 - May/26/2017

Irving, Texas, USA


"DIN is a not-for-profit conference and serves as a forum for the presentation of epidemiological investigations, clinical case studies, basic and applied research, and other topics in emerging and current zoonotic and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases.   The conference's goal is to increase knowledge and awareness of these diseases within the medical, public health, and academic research communities.  

Participants include physicians, physician assistants, nurses, veterinarians, epidemiologists, virologists, microbiologists, parasitologists, entomologists, sanitarians, public health professionals, wildlife biologists, animal control officers, and others involved in the diagnosis, investigation, prevention, control, and research of zoonoses and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases.

DIN is co-sponsored by the Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control Branch and the Texas Health Institute.  For more information about zoonoses in Texas, please visit the Zoonosis Control Branch's website at  For more information about the Texas Health Institute, please visit

Please join us May 24-26, 2017 at the beautiful AAA 4-Diamond Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas for the 67th annual meeting of the James Steele Conference on Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man.  This conference provides excellent, informative presentations by local, state, national, and international experts, continuing education credits for a variety of professions, and a great opportunity to network with colleagues and make new friends!"

For more information, please click here.  


2017 Conference


Past Conferences 


Conference History


J.V. Irons Keynote Address 


About Dr. James Steele


International Conference on Diseases in Nature Communicable to Man (INCDNCM)


Contact Us


Dedicated to improving the public health through a better understanding of zoonoses and environmentally-acquired infectious diseases.

One Health: New Term, Ancient Concept - Saturday, May 20, 2017




  One Health: New Term, Ancient Concept

“The One Health Initiative website has been serving as a global repository for all news and information pertaining to One Health since 2008.”

By Physician Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP 

See more at:

“... To fill the communications gap between physicians and veterinarians, my colleagues and I cofounded the One Health Initiative. The One Health Initiative website has been serving as a global repository for all news and information pertaining to One Health since 2008. Please visit it. We look forward to any feedback that you might have.” 
[This article originally appeared online at MD Magazine.]

Dr. Kahn is a physician and research scholar with the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. In April 2006, she published the article “Confronting Zoonoses, Linking Human and Veterinary Medicine” in Emerging Infectious Diseases, which helped launch the One Health Initiative. She is also the author of Who’s in Charge? Leadership during Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises (2009) and One Health and the Politics of Antimicrobial Resistance (2016).

   See more at: including:

Letter from the Chairman Making One Health a Priority

Prominent U.S. Tuberculosis Expert and One Health Leader Dies - Saturday, May 13, 2017

Prominent U.S. Tuberculosis Expert and One Health Leader Dies

Dr. Charles O. Thoen, a veterinarian internationally recognized for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the scientific field of tuberculosis and an avid One Health leader/advocate died unexpectedly Monday, May 8, 2017.  Notably, Dr. Thoen earned his PhD degree following a fellowship in microbiology research at the renowned Mayo Clinic graduate school of medicine (1968-1971): University of Minnesota.  He had previously received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from U of M in 1961.

Dr. Thoen was a valued friend and strong ally of the One Health Initiative Autonomous Pro Bono team.  This brilliant, kind and decent man shall be sorely missed by his friends, colleagues and the global public health scientific world.

A fitting in memoriam to him and for his family, is the following beautifully prepared pertinent article:

Iowa State University – College of Veterinary Medicine


A Man Among Beasts

Dr. Charles Thoen

Editor's Note: It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr. Charles Thoen, professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine, on Monday, May 8, 2017.

During his half-century- long career in veterinary medicine, Dr. Charles Thoen has worked with food- producing animals, companion animals, nonhuman primates, elk, buffalo and even elephants. Early in his career he was a veterinary medical epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). He later chaired the department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine at Iowa State University, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Scientific Committee on Tuberculosis in Animals, and World Health Organization Committee on Animal Tuberculosis.

He’s been a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pan American Health Organization, National Aquarium in Baltimore, International Elephant Foundation, and agricultural departments in the United States and countries including Egypt, New Zealand, South Africa, Colombia and Serbia.

Dr. Thoen has served as president of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society and was invited by the World Veterinary Association to provide content for its educational portal on tuberculosis (TB) in animals and humans. In 2014 he received the Distinguished Research Alumnus award from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine for his accomplishments on TB and clinically significant pathogenic mycobacteria. He’s been an editor of seven textbooks on infectious disease that are used by scientists worldwide.

He credits his training at Mayo Clinic for providing him with research skills, and a childhood pet for sparking his lifelong interest in infectious diseases in animals and humans.

Dr. Thoen grew up on a farm in Harmony−Lanesboro, Minnesota. When his dog, Trixie, contracted an infectious disease and died, the 10-year-old boy wanted to learn more about what killed his pet. He talked to the local veterinarian and “was hooked,” he says.

Dr. Thoen recently edited the third edition of Zoonotic Tuberculosis: Mycobacterium bovis and Other Pathogenic Mycobacteria, a comprehensive review of the state-of-the-art control and elimination of infections caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in animals and humans.

Intermingling of the species

“Infectious diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans, and from humans back to animals,” says Dr. Thoen. TB in particular causes disease in humans, elephants and several nonhuman primates. He says this information is especially important because TB is a re-emerging disease in both humans and animals worldwide and is a risk when they intermingle.

“Advanced TB is highly contagious and a significant concern to public health officials,” says Dr. Thoen. “Molecular techniques can trace outbreaks, including genotyping the TB organisms to identify strains and determine if isolates from human patients are similar to those of animals they were exposed to — or vice versa. If the isolates are the same, we can suspect transmission from one species to another, which helps identify the source of infection.”

Employees at animal parks and animal training centers have contracted the disease from elephants and primates. TB isn’t common among U.S. cattle but does occur in cattle imported from Mexico, exposing domestic cattle to the disease.

“Suspected animals are tested, but they only shed the organism in advanced stages of disease, so tests have limitations,” he says. “Public health officials are very concerned about animal-to-human transmission. People who come in contact with elephants may be at risk of contracting TB. Infected animals that expel air in proximity to people can infect them. Some studies show that 13 percent of captive elephants are infected with TB.”

Elephant man

When TB was first diagnosed in captive elephants in 1996, Dr. Thoen worked with a national group of elephant owners and the USDA to set up guidelines for testing, treatment and monitoring the disease. It was the start of 20 years of working with elephants. Some of his trainees became pioneers in the process of collecting samples for testing from the inside of the animals’ trunks — similar to a sputum sample. His team also determined the drug treatment protocols for elephants infected with TB.

“Initially the drug is given orally in grape juice, but elephants quickly lose interest in it,” he says. “We developed a suppository pack, which is now the standard treatment for uncooperative elephants.”

Costly treatment — in dollars and death

Some strains of TB in both humans and animals are resistant to two or more first-line drugs, and others are resistant to multiple drugs. The cost of treating TB is considerable. According to Dr. Thoen, in humans it’s $20,000 for a normal strain of TB and $135,000 to $400,000 for drug- resistant strains, with no guarantee — drug-resistant cases are often fatal. Treating infected animals is just as costly — $100,000 over 18 months for an elephant and as much as $400,000 if it is extensively drug-resistant.

“When an outbreak occurs in other animal populations, we don’t treat the disease,” says Dr. Thoen. “Instead, we remove the animals from the population and do follow- up tests for three and five or more years in those who were exposed.”

Dr. Thoen points out that when TB occurs in developing countries, it’s often not treated in humans, let alone animals, due to the high cost, which contributes to the spread of the disease. Some experts fear TB in animals could lead to the extinction of endangered species.

Dr. Thoen is an advocate for the One Health initiative and has authored content on its educational portal. One Health recognizes that human health, animal health and the environment are inextricably linked and encourages worldwide interdisciplinary collaboration in health care for humans, animals and the environment to defend the health and well-being of all species.

“Tuberculosis doesn’t know if it’s in an animal or a human and doesn’t care who it infects next,” he says. “We need better diagnostic tests and procedures.”

Reprinted from Mayo Clinic Alumni Magazine, Issue 3, pp 28 to 30.  2016. electronic Alumni magazine

New Online Biology Dictionary includes One Health Reference - Sunday, May 07, 2017

New Online Biology Dictionary includes One Health Reference

 “Biology is the study of living things. It is broken down into many fields, reflecting the complexity of life from the atoms and molecules of biochemistry to the interactions of millions of organisms in ecology. This biology dictionary is here to help you learn about all sorts of biology terms, principles, and life forms. Search by individual topic using the alphabetized menu below, or search by field of study using the menu on the left.”

See: "Useful Links" page ( 

Provided by:

Chris Chen, MD

CEO of Chen Medical, Co-Founder & Editor of []

Miami, Florida

“... I am an avid reader of, I found it very helpful!  Recently I've started a related topic project of mine at, which aims to provide useful explanations and examples of biology terms to students, teachers and researchers. ...”

5th International One Health Congress - Thursday, May 04, 2017




Announcement: 5th International One Health Congress travels to Canada in June 2018

Join the One Health research and policy community at the 5th International One Health Congress, which will be held in Saskatoon, Canada, on 22 - 25 June 2018. The congress is organized by the One Health Platform and the University of Saskatchewan, in close cooperation with the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS). Special attention will go to antimicrobial resistance, translational science, and recent advances in the fields of zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases. Visit the congress website at or download the announcement brochure


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