One Health Initiative Team and Advisory Board Urge United States Secretaries of Departments: Health and Human Services and Homeland Security to Help Provide Funding for “One Health” Institute of Medicine (IOM) Study/Report
The following letter was mailed to the U.S. Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius (Department of Health and Human Services) and Janet Napolitano (Department of Homeland Security) on Monday, April 25, 2011. Secretaries Sebelius and Napolitano are former governors of their respective states, Kansas and Arizona. Note: Please see PDF copy of original letter posted on Publications page http://www.onehealthinitiative.com/publications.php.
It was co-signed by the Dean of the Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary medicine, Dr. Ralph Richardson, a notable veterinarian and the eminent and internationally known medical virologist, Dr. Tom Monath, a physician and member of the One Health Initiative (OHI) Autonomous pro bono team.
In a preliminary notice to fellow honorary advisory board members regarding the mailing of the letter, Dr. Richardson said, “I am e-mailing an advance copy to Dr. Alex Garza [MD, MPH], Secretary Napolitano’s Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer as well as to Dr. Doug Meckes [DVM], a veterinarian in Secretary Napolitano’s office [Food, Agriculture and Veterinary Defense Division, Office of Health Affairs]. I hope that it generates renewed interest in the One Health efforts. Secretary Napolitano and Dr. Garza both visited Kansas City last year and expressed strong support for the interactions of the various disciplines. Secretary Sebelius is former Governor of Kansas and one of the first things that she did after being appointed Secretary of DHHS was to, jointly with Secretary Napolitano, reaffirm their support for building the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, KS. My hope is that, with their understanding of the One Health Initiative, that they will push for the IOM/NRC study.”
Most One Health supporters/advocates believe that having such a prestigious comprehensive One Health study/report will help verify the critical need for implementing the concept in the U.S. and worldwide. Once definitive parameters are established and documented by such a published study/report, more rapid recognition and institutionalization is expected.
Funding costs for convening and conducting a study is estimated at approximately $1.2 million. *Such a relatively small investment should actually help reduce future research expenditures and duplication of services by encouraging more co-equal interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary collaborations. Moreover, expedited One Health scientific research discoveries “ … will help protect and/or save untold millions of lives in our generation and for those to come.” Some available examples in the 20th and early 21st centuries are documented in the OHI website News and Publications pages.
*See previous white paper from the National Academies of Sciences (USA) “A New Biology for the 21st Century” www.nap.edu/catalog/12764.html proposing values of a multi-disciplinary approach. Then think about having a “One Health” white paper conducted, published and widely distributed.
“In July, 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Energy (DOE) asked the National Research Council’s Board on Life Sciences to convene a committee to examine the current state of biological research in the United States and recommend how best to capitalize on recent technological and scientific advances that have allowed biologists to integrate biological research findings, collect and interpret vastly increased amounts of data, and predict the behavior of complex biological systems.” …
April 23, 2011
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave. SW
Washington DC 20201
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Madams Secretary,
RE: Institute of Medicine (IOM)/National Research Council “One Health IOM Study/Report” Funding
We represent the Advisory Board and Executive of the One Health Initiative (OHI) autonomous pro bono team, which actively supports and promotes the need to integrate medical, veterinary medical, and environmental sciences to further public and animal health.
Information about the One Health Initiative is available on our website: http://www.onehealthinitiative.com.
Currently the disciplines of human medicine, veterinary medicine, and environmental health are not optimally synergistic in addressing the needs of the public, domestic animals, wildlife, and the environment. The relevant professions are operating without sufficient recognition of the obvious biological and ecological connections between human, animal, and environmental health.
Since 2007, there has been wide recognition of the need to redress this problem through an Initiative that would integrate disciplines at many levels. Therefore, the One Health concept has been formally endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and many other professional societies.
Examples of potential deliverables of the OHI include:
1. Decreased risk of human food borne diseases by veterinary medical and environmental scientists assessing exposure of crops to animal feces in a coordinated program;
2. Decreased risk of antibiotic resistance, by restricting use of antibiotics in the food chain for animals and humans, through coordinated efforts between veterinary medical, agricultural, medical regulatory agencies and industry.
3. Decreased risk of transmission of diseases from companion animals to humans by cooperative patient-contact efforts between veterinarians and physicians
4. Improved surveillance for and responses to outbreaks of diseases transmissible from animals to humans by improving communication and collaboration between agriculture, health, and environmental officials;
5. Accelerated development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics against diseases that similarly afflict humans and animals by coordinating medical and veterinary medical research efforts on disorders common to all species, examples being obesity, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases
In 2008, the Institute of Medicine/National Research Council (IOM/NRC) proposed to conduct a study of One Health, with the intent of exploring common educational needs for human and animal medical practice, untapped opportunities for mutually beneficial biomedical research, enhanced food safety through better networked human and animal care systems, and improved surveillance for both naturally occurring (and maliciously designed) emergent zoonotic diseases. In short the study would provide a roadmap for action and implementation that would be immensely beneficial to public health, agriculture and biosecurity.
Regrettably, adequate funding for this important study has not yet been obtained. It is estimated that the study would require funding of approximately $1.2 million.
We strongly urge you to find funding for this important effort by the Institute of Medicine, and to encourage the relevant agencies in your Departments, including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the DHS Office of Health Affairs to participate.
Please consider taking the necessary steps to provide said funding at the earliest possible time.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Ralph C. Richardson, DVM, Dipl ACVIM (Oncology, Internal Med)
Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine
Kansas State University
101 Trotter Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-5601
Phone (785) 532-5660
FAX (785) 532-5884
Cell phone: (785) 770-7679
Thomas P. Monath, MD
Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Pandemic & Biodefense Fund
21 Finn Road
Harvard MA 01451
One Health Initiative (OHI) Autonomous pro bono Team’s Advisory Board (Hon.)
Patrick W. Kelley, MD, DrPH
Director, Boards on Global Health and
African Science Academy Development
Institute of Medicine
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Direct Phone: 202-334-2650
General Phone: 202-334-2427