Former One Health Coordinator for United States Department of Agriculture Continues One Health Activities

Joseph (Joe) Annelli, DVM, MS, a veterinarian formally with the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) as Senior Advisor for Agriculture and Health System viz. the One Health Coordinator retired in January 2018 after a remarkable 32 year career.  Dr. Annelli was active in a broad range of policy and program development. 

Annelli continues to advance the cause of One Health by consulting with the World Health Organization (WHO) and participates in development of a Zoonotic Disease Guide  In addition, this month (April 2018) he has been and is working collaboratively with a voluntary ad hoc committee of representative One Health advocate-leaders as principal author of a “call to action” One Pager for a proposed bipartisan U.S. Senate Bill “Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act of 2018 (S.2615)  Two visionary U.S. Senators, a Democrat and Republican, Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) and Senator Todd Young (R-Indiana) introduced the bipartisan Bill on March 22, 2018.  Notably, “One Health” is a nonpartisan issue.

A native of the state of New York, Annelli received a BS in Biology in 1976 from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, and later a Master of Science (MS) in Zoology with an emphasis on Wildlife Management from Long Island University (New York-USA).  He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at Araneta University in Quezon City, Philippines in 1983. 

Throughout his federal career Annelli was an innovative thinker, one who pushed the needle forward with issues like eradicating avian influenza from the live bird market system in New York City. Other important efforts included helping to eradicate pseudorabies from the U.S. domestic herds, introducing the Incident Command System to USDA’s Veterinary Services (VS) office, building the USDA-APHIS Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and emergency programs activities into a world class response organization. Annelli managed the White House Avian and Pandemic Preparedness implementation plan while on detail to the USDA Secretary’s Office working with all of USDA by leading the International Avian and Pandemic Influenza Response Team, developing a Crisis Management Center at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, leading USDA on Global Health Security at the White House, initiating the USDA wide One Health Joint Working Group, the Federal Interagency One Health Working Group, and founding and leading the One Health Coordination Center

Annelli sees the biggest challenge for Public Practice Veterinarians as being able to overcome the heretofore unrecognized really that they are indeed the first line of defense for human health (a One Health reality!).  Regrettably, animal health agencies are frequently considered mere Livestock agencies limited to animal health and animal welfare. Actually, their true role is to ensure that the U.S. government helps to provide “wholesome, abundant, affordable food for the U.S. and the World.”  As Annelli says, “when I say ‘wholesome,’  the term encompasses food that is nutritionally rich and rid of disease, and while the programs may be focused on animals, ultimately we are [helping to] ensure human health. For example, when dealing with rabies [control], we develop animal vaccines, yes, but if we were to focus on developing human vaccines, we’d only be addressing a symptom of the problem and not the root cause itself—rabies would still be present and so too would the threat of infection.”

Footnote: In tandem with USDA-APHIS, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a significant public health food safety agency with a workforce of dedicated public health veterinarians striving to keep the people of the U.S. safe from foodborne illnesses.  Both federal agencies work collaboratively with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their One Health division and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)