One Health Club at the University of Pennsylvania 


Over this past summer, a One Health graduate group at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) was formed through the initiative of Catherine Brinkley (Penn Vet) and Shadia Bel Hamdounia (Penn Med).  "We wanted to foster more communication between the health professional schools and to discuss key issues that overlap in our education."  The group hosted their first panel discussion on October 2, 2008 with representatives in attendance from the schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, nursing and medical science graduate programs.  The topic was “antibiotic use in food animals”, a subject gaining intense scientific interest due to concerns over antibiotic resistance and how this practice may affect reduced antibiotic efficacy among humans and animals that are treated individually for bacterial infections.   Vigorous dialogue ensued about the economics of food animal medicine, as long-term use of preventative antibiotics is also used to promote growth in food animals.  The panel provided opposing viewpoints through diverse panelists, with representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists (Dr. Margaret Mellon), Bayer Animal Health (Dr. Jim Sears), USDA (Dr. William Flynn), Pennsylvania State Health Department (DR. Nkuchia M'ikanatha), and an organic food distributor (Marco Lentini, founder of Gia Pronto, Wharton MBA). “Our first meeting had a wonderful turn out (200 people) from all schools- and it definitely stimulated interesting discussion about current food animal practices and the overlay with human and animal health,” reported Catherine Brinkley.  The panel was a valuable opportunity for health professionals to meet each other and discuss key issues that pertain to everyone’s area of expertise.


“Another one of the ideas at the forefront of our discussions has been a way to tackle the zoonotic disease overlay in human and animal medicine and to give it a focus.  We [the One Health club] had thought to focus on the role that companion animals play, specifically when it comes to children and immunosuppressed individuals.  It often seems that physicians recommend getting rid of pets, but that might not always be the answer considering their value to members of the family [the human-animal bond phenomenon].  We also wanted to address who's role it is (veterinary medical or medical doctor) to inform human patients of disease risk(s) from their pets (veterinarians obviously know more [about zoonotic diseases] so should we work at human hospitals as consultants?”  Many other questions continue to arise and are expected to be addressed in future joint student interdisciplinary discussions in the true spirit of One Health.  


  Provided by:

Catherine "Katie" Brinkley  

University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical/PhD student

Contact information:


Shadia Bel Hamdounia

University of Pennsylvania Medical (MD/MBE) student

Contact information:


UPenn One Health Officer Board


Katie Brinkley                    Penn Vet/PhD, 2011
Shadia  Bel Hamdounia    Penn MD/MBE, 2011

Haley  Moss                     Penn Med, 2011
Cara   Zayac                    Masters of Public Health
Michael Harhay                Masters of Public Health

Dana Mosher                     Penn Vet, 2012

Sean  Spencer                  Penn MD/PhD, 2011