U.S. College Announces First Undergraduate One Health Specific Curriculum
Berry College One Health Program
“One Health, sometimes called “One Medicine”, is an emerging concept in which the health of any population, including humans, is assumed to be dependent upon numerous external factors, including associations with other species and the environment they occupy. The One Health approach promotes a highly interdisciplinary collaboration between physicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, public health administrators, ecologists, infectious disease researchers, as well as those engaged in numerous other specialties.
The One Health concept originally arose in the veterinary medical community, largely due to the observed transmission of zoonotic pathogens between pets, livestock, and wildlife; as well as sometimes to humans, such as with bird flu. It was quickly understood that the dynamics of transmission frequently depended upon the ecological context of these interactions. These could be environmental, cultural, or behavioral factors, which directly or indirectly facilitate disease transmission between populations.
Despite its origins, the One Health approach to individual and population health has now gained widespread acceptance throughout the veterinary medical, medical, and public health fields. Indeed, One Health courses are increasingly being adopted as part of the required curriculum at many veterinary medical colleges, medical schools, and schools of public health. Owing largely to its intuitive utility and the interdisciplinary nature, One Health specific graduate programs are increasingly available at major universities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), both maintain permanent One Health offices as a means to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and cooperation between researchers, educators, government agencies, and healthcare professionals.
Although graduate level programs dedicated to the One Health approach are increasing available, until now there has not been a similar investment in such training at the undergraduate level. We at Berry College are therefore proud to announce that in November of 2013 Berry became the first college in the United States to approve a One Health specific curriculum at the undergraduate level. This program of study, which results in the student earning a minor in One Health, truly reflects the interdisciplinary nature inherent to the One Health concept. This curriculum is uniquely possible at Berry principally due to two reasons. First is the faculty, many of whom who have been involved in One Health related research, and teaching related courses, even prior to the acknowledgment of One Health as a specific discipline. Second, the facilities and academic climate at Berry are uniquely suited for such a program.
At 27,000 acres Berry College can boast the largest campus in the world. Its vast tracts of land, the wildlife preserve, and livestock facilities provide a unique opportunity to study those ecological factors potentially linked to population health, including zoonotic disease transmission. Such studies are facilitated by the student work program, for which Berry is well known. This provides the opportunity for students to be paid while working directly with faculty on One Health related research projects. We feel these factors place Berry in a unique position to offer a One Health minor to its students at this time.
For more information on Berry College’s One Health program, please visit us at One Health website http://www.berry.edu/academics/science/page.aspx?id=101816”
Christopher A. Hall, PhD
Director, One Health Center
Department of Biology
Mount Berry, GA 30149
Off. (706) 290-2669
Fax. (706) 238-7855