From Dean Callanan: Congress Passes the One Health Act

Mar 03, 2023

One Health is a scientific approach that brings together collaborative efforts of multiple medical disciplines and governmental agencies working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s One Health Initiative Task Force.

In December, news from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) was released celebrating the U.S. Congress’ passage of the final spending bill for fiscal year 2023, which included language from the Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act (One Health Act) championed by the AVMA. Congress will now be able to direct federal agencies to develop and submit a national One Health Framework to collaboratively address zoonotic diseases and advance public health preparedness in the U.S. and globally.

The language in the One Health Act will operationalize the One Health concept to address many issues of importance. As more and more veterinarians strengthen their awareness in One Health and build credentials such as those obtained through the Ross Vet certifications and degrees in One Health, the Ross Vet community is uniquely positioned to play greater parts in putting One Health concepts into practice.


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One Health approaches have their basis in the fact that human health, animal health and the health of the environment are all intertwined. In our curriculum at Ross Vet and our roles as veterinarians, we often speak about or focus on many animal diseases, but our One Health approach to education sees our faculty go further to highlight the significant implications animal diseases can have on the health of humans and livelihood of people in our society. Being a veterinary school based in the Caribbean, this is often brought home for us as we interact with many farmers on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, where even moderate health impacts to production animals may have significant impacts to the prosperity of these farmers.

We also offer opportunities for our students and faculty to gain firsthand experiences of One Health in action in the St. Kitts and Nevis communities outside campus. We support animal care and resource underprivileged neighborhoods with support from our partners, PetSmart. In such scenarios, students not only see the spectrum of care processes in action, but also observe the effects of under-resourced environments on human health and society, all critical experiences if one is to develop a One Health mindset.

I am eager to follow the developments that come from the implementation of the One Health framework. Ross Vet continues to be at the forefront of the One Health movement, and with the U.S. Congress shining a brighter light on its importance, the highest governmental agencies and global leaders are taking notice. Be proud of this moment for One Health, the veterinary community, and the world!

Sean Callanan, MVB, CertVR, MRCVS, PhD, FRCPath, DiplECVP
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

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