Zoonotic disease sounds like an affliction of lions, tigers and bears. But it’s closer to home than you realize. It could be present at a local restaurant in the form of salmonella or in your own backyard in a bat with rabies. In fact, 60% of infectious disease in humans has animal origins.

Public Health agencies are faced with challenges never imagined fifty years ago. In order to meet those challenges, veterinary schools, medical schools, and government agencies are joining forces. The One Health Initiative is a worldwide strategy to encourage communication and collaboration between healthcare disciplines. The goals of the initiative are simple: Accelerate biomedical research discoveries; increase the effectiveness of public health efforts; and improve medical education.

The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) supports the One Health Initiative by pursuing interdisciplinary biomedical research, and by working with the FDA to provide testing on cross-species disease transmission.

CVM’s commitment to the One Health Initiative is most evident in the Biomedical Sciences department where research is focused on the development of animal models to study human diseases like diabetes, HIV, and tuberculosis. Our veterinary scientists are trained in comparative biology and frequently work with colleagues in a wide variety of fields including physical science, social science, and engineering.

Also in line with the One Health Initiative is CVM’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). The laboratory works closely with government agencies to support programs in animal and public health. For example, the VDL provides surge capacity testing for the FDA in the event of a food contamination emergency. As members of the Veterinary Laboratory Response Network, they are committed to the sharing and coordination of facilities and data in order to expedite national response efforts.