Celebrating One Health Day!

Today is one of my favorite days. Today, I get to talk about one of the things I am passionate about. Because today is One Health Day!

What is "One Health," you ask? Well, by the end of this blog, it is my goal that each of you will be able to answer that question on your own! To me, One Health is what "the big picture" is all about. It's the realization that human health, animal health, and environmental health are all completely, delicately, and beautifully entwined. Perhaps one of the most relatable examples of how "One Health" is exemplified is through the food chain ... the health of the plants is important to the animals that eat them and the health of the animals is important to the people who eat them (unless you don't eat animals ... but you get the picture).

One Health has been studied, discussed, and conceptualized for centuries. A couple of my favorite quotes regarding the topic are from two very different individuals coming from two different backgrounds, BUT they both shared the same goal:

"Between animal and human medicine there is no dividing line- nor should there be. The object is different but the experience obtained constitutes the basis of all medicine." -Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902)

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." -Chief Seattle (1786-1866)

See? Aren't those fantastic? It's those types of statements that really hit home with me regarding the kind of work we do at the Wildlife Center and the kind of work to which I hope to dedicate the rest of my life. Before starting vet school, I always knew I wanted to contribute my knowledge to "the bigger picture", and when I heard about the One Health initiative, I knew we would be a perfect pair. In my biography on the Wildlife Center's website, it states "while she enjoyed working with cats and dogs, she also became extremely passionate about directing her career path in a way that would benefit the 'un-owned' animals of the world, particularly free-ranging wildlife." What better way to contribute to One Health than through wildlife and conservation medicine?

I can think of COUNTLESS examples of how treating an individual wild animal with the goal of release and eventual contribution to the population of their species directly influences the health of humans and the planet. Take vultures. Vultures are the earth's garbage disposals. Think of how much carrion would be littered across our streets, pastures, and backyards without the help of these special creatures. They may be called "ugly" or "grotesque", but they're important. They're important for our planet. And they're important to me.

Have I gained your attention? Can you answer that original question about what "One Health" means? Good. Then read, ask questions, start discussions about One Health and why it is such an important concept for the health of your children, yourself, your pets, your crops, your backyard birds, and more.

Dr. Peach 
Veterinary Intern