One Health Compelling Stories

March, 2013

The One Health approach has gained steam over the last decade as a means of facilitating trans-disciplinary collaboration to address global health issues. Six true stories of effective applications of One Health are now available. Dr. Jamie Umber, who coordinated the story compilation, says that "there is growing knowledge that people remember compelling stories better than they do scientific data," but rather anecdotes. The accessible format and straightforward language allows broad audiences to grasp scientific problems and solutions.

The stories were selected by GIFSL director Dr. Will Hueston and CAHFS director of operations Linda Valeri for their instructional potential for those working in animal health. While the stories take place in a myriad of geographic locations and economic contexts, they all share a common thread: in each instance, a One Health approah was used successfully to address a public health challenge, be it smog-related illness in Thailand or a lack of communication between government stakeholders in Argentina. Rather than individual health professions developing solutions alone, the expertise of a variety of professions including human health, animal health, environmental, computer engineering, public policy and other sectors, were brought into play. Umber believes that the stories will be particularly valuable to animal health professionals, who are often "siloed into their own specialties" and will reinforce the idea that complex problems call for comprehensive solutions. 

Because the roots of public health issues reach beyond the scope of human health, multifaceted solutions are required. We encourage you share these stories with your colleagues and use their message as you search for cross-sector collaborations in your own work. Dr. Umber’s ultimate hope is that the stories will inspire public health professionals to "contact a colleague in a different discipline and solicit their help" in tackling a health challenge, thereby embodying the One Health approach.