One Health Symposia

Major innovative breakthroughs in human health are possible through the use of a “One Health” approach to medicine and research. So what exactly is “One Health”? Diseases affecting humans do not occur in isolation. They occur in populations that interact with animals and the environment.  The solutions to many diseases affecting human health globally require cooperation of human medical doctors, veterinarians and environmental scientists. While the veterinary profession has long embraced this interdisciplinary approach to enhance their field, the “human” medical profession has been slow to follow this concept. No Ivy League school without a veterinary school has an active One Health program, demonstrating silos that often separate human and veterinary medicine and research.

The Department of Comparative Medicine in Stanford’s School of Medicine has hosted three One Health Conferences (2014, 2016 and 2018) in order to educate and promote awareness of the benefits of a One Health approach to solving global health issues. Initially focusing on diseases that affect humans and animals, and eventually including the environment in the mix, these conferences have brought together human medical and veterinary researchers, human and veterinary clinicians and environmental researchers whose fields of study overlap. These meetings have helped to strengthen collaborations with the larger veterinary community, encourage innovative research programs, enhance environment and human health research on campus and provide unique training opportunities for trainees to integrate knowledge from human and veterinary medicine.