What is the essence of One Health (formerly called One Medicine)?


Answer:  There are more than one definitions of “One Health”.  However, one that is widely accepted and quoted in other publications is The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. The synergism achieved will advance health care for the 21st century and beyond by accelerating biomedical research discoveries, enhancing public health efficacy, expeditiously expanding the scientific knowledge base, and improving medical education and clinical care. When properly implemented, it will help protect and save untold millions of lives in our present and future generations.”


How do you characterize or define it?  Please send your views to c/o Contents Manager


While you are at it, here is a pop quiz for your enjoyment:


Which of the following is an example of the One Health Approach?


1.     Hantavirus is found in prairy dogs at a site in Arizona (USA) following a human exposure to one (or more) of these animals with thé subsequent death from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

2.     Physician researchers independently identify a new zoonotic disease and name it.

3.     Veterinarian researchers independently identify a new zoonotic disease and name it.

4.     A physician professor teaches his/her medical students how to examine a dog or a horse in a slow deliberate methodical manner in order not to spook the animal.  He/she then applies this technique to human physical examinations of patients to help facilitate a better doctor-patient relationship.


Answer:  None of the above! Why?


None of the above involve an interdisciplinary collaboration/communication like what actually occurred below (only four examples out of many others over the centuries)...


See for a. & b. 

  1. A March 23, 2007 One Health endorsement came from 1996 Nobel laureate physician [for physiology or medicine], Dr. Rolf Zinkernagel who was joined by his co-nobelist colleague, veterinarian Dr. Peter Doherty.
  2.  Eminent virologists, Drs. Karl Johnson (physician) and Fred Murphy (veterinarian) worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as co-equal investigators, together discovering the etiologic agent of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, i.e. the Ebola virus in 1976.  Dr. Johnson described their collaborations as being “One Health”—which they certainly were.
  3. Physician Dr. Peter Rabinowitz and veterinarian Dr. Lisa Conti (a member of the One Health Initiative Autonomous pro bono team) jointly co-edited, co-authored, and published a groundbreaking ‘first of its kind’ One Health book December 2009 entitled “Human-Animal Medicine—Clinical Approaches to Zoonoses, Toxicants and other Shared Health Risks
  4. Veterinarian James "Jimi" Cook, DVM, PhD, a University of Missouri (USA) college of veterinary medicine professor of orthopedic surgery and physician B. Sonny Bal, MD, JD, MBA, Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery college of medicine have collaborated since about 2002 on efforts to create hip and knee replacements (humans & animals) without using commonplace biomechanical metal and plastic materials.  


NOTE: Drs. Rabinowitz, Cook and Bal serve on the One Health Initiative Honorary Advisory Board