A third good reason to attend the … “One Health” Session Scheduled for the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), in Orlando, Florida (USA) Monday, January 17,  2011 By scrolling down this One Health website NEWS page, you can read about the first two good reasons to attend that were described about and by speakers Drs. Kirsten Gilardi (posted August 26, 2010) and Paul P. Calle (posted August 13, 2011).  You may see the entire One Health program scheduled by scrolling down to the Saturday, July 10, 2010 posting.   Here is a third outstanding featured speaker attraction, Dr. Kate D. Hodgson, a well known Canadian veterinarian with close ties to the human and veterinary medical communities.  Dr. Hodgson holds a continuing medical education (CME) degree in Family and Community Medicine.  She has developed numerous interactive CME programs and trained medical school faculty at the University of Toronto to develop and deliver effective CME programs.    The following is a summary of one of two interesting talks Dr. Hodgson will be giving at the NAVC One Health session.  The importance of integrating companion animal health and disease to human health with an emphasis on how this affects the private practicing veterinarian and the family physician will be discussed.   ONE HEALTH – THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF COMPANION ANIMALS TO HUMAN HEALTH   By Kate D. Hodgson DVM, MHSc, CCMEP Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (Canada)   “The worldwide One Health initiative is dedicated to improving the health of all species- both human and animal through the integration of human health care and veterinary medicine.  Diverse collaborations of interprofesisonal and international health care professionals working at multiple levels of government and in private practice can improve human, environmental, and animal health.   One Health in the community is a part of the larger worldwide One Health initiative.  The majority of veterinarians in North America work in private practice, caring for companion animals in local communities.  A small minority practice food or mixed animal medicine.  Even fewer veterinarians work in government or public health.  The majority of physicians also work in primary care, directly caring for patients in their community.  For One Health to reach the community, practical tools and training are needed to integrate family and veterinary medicine in community practice.    People and animals are living in ever greater proximity with an increased risk of disease spread from animals to humans.  Human and animal proximity is based on two strong current societal trends; first the growing importance of the human animal bond and second the increasingly dense urbanization of our population.  The human population of the world is increasing, and urbanization is proceeding at a significantly greater rate than population growth.  Cities are both growing in size and becoming more densely settled.    To improve the lives of all species- human and animal- family physicians and veterinarians with their staff can work together to control the risk of zoonotic disease and injury.  Zoonotic diseases are infections that can affect both humans and animals.  Zoonotic disease can spread from an animal to a human and from humans back to animals.  Zoonotic injury, including dog bites, cat scratch and traumatic injury from other species, is also considered a form of non-infectious zoonotic concern.   One Health is not limited to the prevention of zoonoses; it also encompasses the human health benefits from animals.  Benefits of animals to humans include animals used in the production of food for human consumption, animals as models for research of human diseases, and therapeutic effects of animals on the people around them.     Animal-assisted activity occurs relatively briefly when a patient has structured contact with an animal.  Examples of animal-assisted activity include dogs brought by the owners to visit patients in a long term care facility or paediatric ward.  Animal-assisted therapy is when an animal becomes part of an organized treatment plan.  An example animal-assisted therapy is horse riding for children with developmental delays.  This discussion of zooeyia will focus on the benefits of companion animals on the humans in their family or immediate social group.   Companion animals in families positively affect the risk factors for the chronic diseases of greatest burden to society. The diseases of greatest burden and cost to society are cancer, muscle-skeletal disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, neuro-psychiatric disease, and respiratory disease. Companion animals have a positive or mitigating effect on the risk factors for these diseases which cost patients, families, and the health care system the most.  Controllable risk factors include decreased/limited physical activity, obesity, tobacco/alcohol use, hypertension, challenges to activities of daily living, social isolation of chronic disease.  All of these risk factors are positively influenced by human contact with companion animals.”