One Health: AVMA & AAP Team Up to Provide Best Quality of Care for Humans and Animals

November 13, 2016
Kristi Rosa

In honor of “One Health Day,” the American Veterinary Medical Association teamed up with the American Academy of Pediatrics in a collaborative effort to improve and protect the health of both humans and animals.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have come together to discuss opportunities for collaboration in honor of “One Health Day,” an international campaign dedicated to improving quality of life for all humans, animals, and plants through collaborative efforts across all different disciplines.

It is well known that animal and human health are deeply intertwined, especially because both species are exposed to many of the same environmental factors that influence their health and wellbeing. Under the “One Health” initiative, physicians and veterinarians team together to share information, promote awareness, and create initiatives dedicated to improving quality of life for both animals and humans.

The AVMA and AAP released a statement, “The Value of Professional Collaboration in Protecting the Health of People in Animals,” detailing important areas that need to be addressed as well as the possibility of future projects and campaigns that could be used to share important information with healthcare professionals as well as the public sector.

In a press release, Janet Donlin, DVM, CAE, chief executive officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association explained, “The lives of people and animals are so closely intertwined that health and welfare of all of our patients, both human and animals, will fare much better if we share our knowledge.”

Recently, AVMA and AAP representatives met at AVMA headquarters in order to discuss future plans and important areas that hold opportunities for collaboration. Their first initiative is working together to ensure that both humans and their animals are mentally and physically healthy; therefore, creating a healthy, happy household for all members of the family. Authors of the statement note that pets can improve the overall health of their owners by providing them with a “sense of purpose” as well as a “perceived need to take better care of themselves.” Working together, physicians and veterinarians can offer their expertise in supporting a healthy lifestyle.

Another issue that was discussed was the importance of food safety. Both AVMA and AAP note that veterinarians have been a staple when it comes to improving the health and welfare of food animals. When it comes to food safety, veterinarians and physicians alike have shared their knowledge as well as their advice when it comes to the role that nutrition has in leading healthy lifestyles for both animal and human.

Additionally, according to the statement, “75% of emerging and re-emerging diseases are zoonotic (spread between humans and animals)." Because of this, zoonotic and vector-borne diseases another issue that the representatives feel needs to be addressed.

The One Health initiative also focuses on the environment and how it impacts the health of both humans and animals. In the press release, Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, executive director/CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics explained, “Healthy pets can be important members of healthy households. Because people and pets share the same environments, they will be exposed to similar hazards such as asbestos, lead, second-hand smoke and others.”

According to the statement, the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance weighs heavily on both physicians and veterinarians, making it yet another area that only serves to benefit through collaborative effort. “We must commit to a greater sharing of our scientific knowledge and practical expertise. We must also work together as medical professionals toward the judicious use of antimicrobials and combatting antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr. Remley.

The last item that made their list is arguably one of the most important: the “professional wellness” of both physicians and veterinarians. Both professions take a toll not only on the psyche but on the body, sometimes even resulting in professional burnout. In order for professionals to provide their patients with the best quality of care possible, they need to be mindful of taking care of themselves as well.

Together, the AVMA and AAP aims to address these concerns in their effort through the sharing of knowledge as well as professional expertise across disciplines in order to improve healthcare and quality of life for all patients: humans AND animals.