Welcome to the North Carolina One Health Collaborative
“Our Community, Our World, One Health”
The North Carolina One Health Collaborative promotes, protects, and improves the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment by enhancing multi-disciplinary collaborations. We provide leadership in outreach, education, and research for students, professionals and the public by increasing awareness of the interconnectedness of people, animals, and the environment.
The concept of ‘One Health’ is an evolving, interdisciplinary way of approaching complex health issues by recognizing the interconnectedness of human health, animal health and the environment. It encourages people to move beyond narrow, professional perspectives toward a more holistic view of health (1,2,3,4).
Why is a ‘One Health’ Approach important now?
The North Carolina One Health Collaborative (NC OHC) is a unique partnership. Formed in spring 2010 under the umbrella of the Triangle Global Health Consortium, the NC OHC was founded by representatives of three leading research universities (Duke University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University) and other private and governmental entities. The Collaborative has built upon the academic strengths of four medical schools, a veterinary college, three Global Health Institutes, a School of Public Health, and agricultural, environmental and governmental research programs in central North Carolina such as NIEHS, USDA and EPA. The NC OHC draws from this exceptionally diverse community to create interdisciplinary educational and professional collaborations. The Steering Committee promotes the “One Health” concept by integrating expertise across disciplines. It includes professionals from human medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, ecology, public health, public policy, and social sciences.
NC OHC Outreach Activities
Soon after forming, the NC OHC assumed leadership of a local, monthly One Health Intellectual Exchange Group (IEG) Discussion Series. This ongoing discussion series began within the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's Intellectual Exchange Group (IEG) Program in January 2009 at the request of a group of university students who sought to provide an opportunity for students, physicians, veterinarians, public health, and environmental workers – entities who rarely interact directly – to come together in conversation about overlaps in their respective areas of expertise. These stimulating and timely discussion sessions draw a wide range of participants and facilitate, ‘out of the box’ thinking that emphasizes the “One Health” approach to solving problems at the local, national and global levels.
NC OHC Educational Activities
There is a critical need for a new generation of health professionals who are trained as experts at the interface of human, animal, and environmental health(7,8). In spring 2011, NC OHC created, a weekly graduate level course titled “One Health: From Philosophy to Practice”. This course is uniquely cross listed at Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Both the IEG Discussion Series and the One Health graduate course attract nationally renowned speakers who present their work and lead enthusiastic discussions about the interface of human and animal health and how the environment affects those interactions. The overriding focus includes the bi-directional impact of animal health on human health, environmental impacts on the health of animals and people, and the mutual benefits of comparative medicine. Overall objectives of the course include (1) understanding how different disciplines contribute to the discipline of One Health, (2) creatively designing interdisciplinary interventions to improve local health using a One Health model, and (3) establishing networks among One Health-relevant professionals throughout North Carolina and the world.
Course participants represent a wide range of interests and graduate degree programs including global health students, masters of public health students, nursing students, infectious disease researchers, environmental science/ecology students, MD global health fellows, graduate students and veterinary students. In addition to attendance and participation requirements, students are charged with selecting, researching and presenting detailed case studies that address One Health issues. These student authored case studies are jointly published by the three Universities as an online-compendium for sharing globally with other educational institutions. Some will also be added to the “Supercourse”(9) thus extending the NC OHC’s local impact to an international scale.
Goals of the NC OHC "Our Community, Our World, One Health" Initiative
Implementing the "Our Community, Our World, One Health" Initiative
The NC OHC’s One Health Intellectual Exchange Group and inter-institutional One Health graduate course represent a truly ground-breaking initiative among regional professionals. By drawing upon the rich environment of the Research Triangle Park, the NC OHC provides local leadership for furthering the concept of One Health. Building upon this solid foundation of academic, private and government program excellence, the NC OHC intends to develop a sustainable forum for One Health discussions, education and networking opportunities. It will expand its One Health leadership by: (1) establishing a salaried Director to oversee its day to day operations (2) annually funding a Teaching Assistant who will coordinate the course (3) obtaining resources to attract nationally and internationally renowned speakers and (4) developing / sustaining a dynamic website for increased outreach locally and beyond the borders of North Carolina. Finally and most importantly, the NC OHC will further develop comprehensive One Health educational curricula/programs aimed at producing future leaders who will be able to provide multidisciplinary responses to local health challenges involving animal and human health, the environment and the public. These NC OHC One Health curricular programs could become national and international models to address problems that arise at the interface of animal, human, and environmental health.
NC OHC White Paper
1. Schwabe CW. Bull semen and muscle ATP: some evidence of the dawn of medical science in ancient Egypt. Canadian J Vet Res. 1986; 50:145-153
2. Eiserink M. Initiative aims to merge animal and human health science to benefit both. Science, 2007; 316: 155
3. Cardiff RD, et al. One medicine - one pathology: are veterinary and human pathology prepared? Lab Investig. 2008; 88: 18-26
4. King L, et al. Executive summary of the AVMA One Health Initiative task force: Special report. J Am Vet Med Assoc. July 15, 2008; Vol 233, No. 2
5. Chomel B, et al. Wildlife, exotic pets, and emerging zoonoses. Emerg Infect Disease J. January 2007; Vol 13, No. 1
6. Day M. One Health: The small animal dimension. Vet. Rec. 2010; 167:847-849. doi:10.1136/vr.c6492.
7. Barrett M, et al. Integrating a one health approach in education to address global health and sustainability challenges. Front Ecol Env. 2010; doi; 10.1890/090159
8. Kahn L. The need for one health degree programs. Infection, Ecology & Epidemiology. 01 July 2011. 1:7919. doi: 10.3402/iee.v1i0;7919.