One Health (OH) is the concept that the health of animals, the health of people, and the viability of ecosystems are linked. OH focuses on delivering collaborative, multidisciplinary solutions to complex problems at the animal, human, and environmental interface (AHEI). This approach brings together the strengths of multiple health science professionals including veterinarians, physicians, public health professionals, epidemiologists, ecologists, social scientists, toxicologists, and others – working locally, nationally, and globally – to attain optimal health for people, domestic animals, wildlife, plants and our environment.
A One Health approach embraces the idea that complex problems that affect the health of humans, animals, and the environment are best solved through improved communication, cooperation, and collaboration across disciplines and sectors. Complex problems require a “whole system” approach to identify the elements, see relationships and patterns, identify potential root causes and determine the course of action.
Throughout its history, our organization has played a central role in protecting the health of American animal agriculture. We’ve offered essential services related to the import and export of animals, animal products, and biologics; emergency preparedness and response; animal disease diagnostics; animal vaccine development; and disease surveillance, control, and eradication.
It’s part of our vision that VS will be nationally engaged in response, research, and service by continuing to build an organization that encourages innovative thinking, action, and productive collaborations. The One Health realm is an area where VS contributes its extensive animal health expertise and experience to address the animal component of One Health issues.
APHIS Veterinary Services' One Health Coordination Center (OHCC) coordinates and helps implement the One Health aspects of our vision, mission and goals as outlined in Veterinary Services: A New Perspective. Since being established in 2012, the OHCC has provided direct support to VS business units to strengthen multi-sector responses to zoonotic diseases and other complex issues that intersect the AHEI and promote a One Health approach to these issues.
OHCC works with internal and external partners to strengthen interagency coordination and address OH issues. OHCC helps promote collaboration at all levels within Veterinary Services (VS) and across sectors by identifying and developing policies, procedures and tools that help define when and how different sectors can work together.