Dr. Kate Varela (DVM IL ’12, MPH IL ’13) was selected to spend a year as a AAAS/AVMA Congressional Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the office Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL). After that year she went to work with Veterinarians without Borders in Uganda.
One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment.
The Center for One Health Illinois focuses on fostering human, animal, and ecosystem health through the three broadly defined areas of education, research, and public outreach:
- Education: To educate of a new cadre of health professionals who understand the determinants and contributing factors affecting human, animal, and ecosystem health (One Health), how public health policy affects the health of all three, and how public health policy is developed
- Research: To understand disease processes that occur at the interface of human and animal activities and their effects on the environment
- Outreach: To improve our society’s preparedness and response to natural and intentional exposures of biological, chemical, and physical agents
Key to the Center for One Health Illinois is the DVM-MPH joint degree program, which enrolled its first students in 2005 in conjunction with the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Within the program’s first decade, 40 students had either completed both degrees or were enrolled in the program.
Other educational opportunities for students include:
- VCM 647: A four-week senior veterinary rotation, first offered in 2007, that focuses on field epidemiology, outbreak investigation, fieldwork, and data analysis.
- VCM 648: A public policy practicum elective course, introduced in fall 2008, that is open to students in all professional and graduate academic units and has attracted students from veterinary medicine, human medicine, engineering, community health, geography, neurobiology and law. A description of the course was published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education (JVME 36(4), 2009, 397-402.)
- VCM 671: An international public health course during which students traveled to Germany to study animal and public health infrastructure and policy in the European Union.
- CHSC 400: Public health concepts and practice (taught with the UIC School of Public Health)
- PATH 439: Health applications of geographic information systems (GIS)
Through the Center for One Health Illinois, researchers working in diverse biomedical disciplines agree to jointly train their graduate students in One Health concepts.
The center funds research by DVM-MPH students completing the capstone project required for the MPH degree. Funding is awarded on the basis of scientific merit of projects with strong animal, ecosystem, and human health components.
A list of capstone projects and publications can be found on the DVM-MPH site.
Outreach is an important component of the mission of the Center for One Health Illinois. The center facilitates communication among experts in human health, animal welfare, and ecosystem health.
Past projects include:
- Conducted the first “One Health Illinois” summit with invited key leaders from state and local agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations and industry to determine how groups may better collaborate to address human, animal, and ecosystem health issues in Illinois.
- Surveyed workforce needs of local health departments in Illinois. This was a follow-up survey to one completed in 2003.
- Used the MAPP model to assess community health in Stephenson County, Ill. (2009, 2013) and Champaign County, Ill. (2011, 2014) as part of the Illinois Plan for Local Assessment of Needs.
- Designed and conducted a two day, national forum entitled: The University of Illinois Colloquium on One Medicine: Designing an intra-university public health program at the interface of human, animal and ecosystem health
- Designed and conducted a functional exercise for the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Food, Drugs and Dairies to test the readiness of state and local agencies in the face of a food-borne illness outbreak associated with intentional bacterial contamination. Journal Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Vol. 6, #1, article 49, 2009.
- Hosted a one-day workshop entitled, “Tools for Integrated One Health Surveillance,” for invited experts from academia, state public health agencies and private industry.
- Completed “Flu at the Zoo,” a multi-state, functional, USDA-funded react and respond to an outbreak of avian influenza exercise for zoos.
- Continue to work with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on the development of an integrated One Health surveillance system in Illinois.
- Hosted a free community forum series entitled “One Health & You: News You Can Use.” Topics included animal welfare, food safety, emerging tick-borne diseases, and public health perspectives on marijuana, energy drinks and antimicrobials in milk, meat, bottled water and vaccinations.
- Developed and completed a four-part continuing medical education series for physicians and veterinarians, in conjunction with Carle Hospital Foundation, entitled “One medicine, one health, one community.”
The Center for One Health Illinois steering committee consists of:
- Mark Dworkin, MD, MPHTM, Epidemiology Section Coordinator, School of Public Health, University of Illinois-Chicago
- Ned Hahn, PhD, Associate Professor Emeritus, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Jack Herrmann, DVM, MPH, Director of DVM/MPH program, Center for One Health Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Ron Hershow, MD, Interim Division Director, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois-Chicago
- Lois Hoyer, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Yvette Johnson, DVM, PhD, Clinical Epidemiologist, Center for One Health Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- James Slauch, PhD, Director of the Medical Scholars Program, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Herb Whiteley, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The college hosted a colloquium entitled “One Medicine: The Interface of Human, Animal and Public Health,” which laid the foundation for the center. Participants represented a variety of institutions, including the School of Public Health at University of Illinois-Chicago, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, the University of California-Davis, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and members of federal legislative staffs.
Faculty members from a number of departments on the Chicago and Urbana campuses attended. University President B. Joseph White delivered the keynote address, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin participated via videoconference from Washington, D.C.
This year the college also identified among its top five priorities the establishment of “the University of Illinois Center for One Medicine” in order to “build capacity in environmental health, conservation medicine, and infectious diseases with a focus on direct application to public policy and public health.”
Federal funds of $220,000 were authorized to assist in launching the Center for One Health Illinois.
The first One Health Illinois summit was held in February 2010 and convened invited experts from academia, government, and the private sector to assess the health of human, animal, and ecosystem communities in Illinois and to direct the future plans of the center.
An additional $465,000 in federal funding was authorized in 2010.
In August, the Center for One Health hosted a daylong workshop entitled, Tools for Integrated One Health Surveillance, that brought together experts from academia, state public health agencies, and private industry to discuss tools for an integrated surveillance system in Illinois.
On August 1, the center held its second One Health Illinois Summit. Experts from academia, government, and the private sector presented updates on and discussed the current health of Illinois human, animal and ecosystem communities; efforts to develop an integrated health surveillance system; current and recent One Health research projects; trends regarding zoonotic and infectious diseases; and current and potential health policy initiatives.
News Center for One Health Illinois
Emily Wheeler Lankau (DVM IL ’10, PhD IL ’10) served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer from 2011-2012 at the CDC’s rabies unit and then began consulting on wildlife and infectious diseases.
Rachael Joseph (VMD Penn ’08, MPH JHU ’11, Intern IL ’09) served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer from 2011-2012 at San Diego County Health Department. She now works at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemiologist in the Office of International Cancer Control, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.