Visionary Canadian Medical and Veterinary Medical College Deans Jointly Discuss One Health


A visionary joint meeting of Deans from the Canadian medical and veterinary medical colleges was held in conjunction with the Canadian Conference on Medical Education in Toronto, Canada, in May 2011.  The theme of the meeting, jointly organized by Elizabeth Stone (Dean, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph) and William Albritton (Dean, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan), was “People and Animals Sharing Disease: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Perspectives”.  In addition to medical and veterinary medical Deans, meeting participants included representatives from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion.  The event featured presentations on One Health and zoonotic disease prioritization by David Fisman (Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto) and Jan Sargeant (Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, University of Guelph), integration of veterinary medicine and human health in the community (Kate Hodgson, University of Toronto), and Rabies as a model for best practices for zoonotic disease prevention (Cathleen Hanlon, Kansas State University). 




The meeting provided a forum for active discussion of zoonotic disease initiatives from both human health and animal health perspectives.  Topics discussed included the potential for novel initiatives in joint undergraduate and postgraduate medical and veterinary teaching; the possibility of developing or identifying collaborative funding streams for joint medical and veterinary research in a climate of fiscal restraint, and the degree to which One Health efforts should be embedded in a broader emerging focus on “ecohealth”, which considers the health of humans and animals in the context of broader environmental health.  A concept that generated considerable discussion was that of “zooeyia”, or health benefits of animal ownership, and it was argued that medical-veterinary education should stress this in addition to a more traditional focus on zoonotic disease risk.  It is anticipated that this will become an annual event, resulting in stronger networks between the medical and veterinary medical colleges. 



Information provided by:


David, Fisman, MD, MPH

Dalla Lana School of Public Health

University of Toronto and Department of Medicine

North York General Hospital (Canada)




Jan M. Sargeant, DVM, MSc, PhD

Director, Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses (CPHAZ) and

Professor, Department of Population Medicine

Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

Guelph, Ontario, Canada



Dr. Fisman is a member of the One Health Initiative Team’s Honorary Advisory Board and on the editorial Board of the Florida (USA) State Health Department’s One Health Newsletter


Drs. William Albritton and Fisman are physicians.  Drs. Elizabeth Stone, Jan Sargeant, Kate Hodgson, and Cathleen Hanlon are veterinarians.