Modernizing Health Education: The Need for a ‘One Health’ Approach
By Asger Lundorff Jensen & Deborah Thompson (WVA One Health Education Sub Group)
Recently, the WVA’s One Health Education Subgroup has launched a global initiative to evaluate the current Planetary Health educational efforts and gaps throughout veterinary medicine and beyond, the ‘Planetary Health Survey – education gap analysis’. This project practices the ‘One Health’ approach by collaborating with several prominent global professional and student associations from various health sectors including the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, the Planetary Health Alliance, and more, to compare and contrast findings.
The initiative uses the Planetary Health Alliance’s definition of Planetary Health which is “a solutions-oriented, transdisciplinary field and social movement focused on analyzing and addressing the impacts of human disruptions to Earth’s natural systems on human health and all life on Earth”. It is worth noting the marked similarity between the “One Health concept”, traditionally referenced by veterinarians, and the current “Planetary Health” definition, traditionally referenced by the human medical communities. Noting that “all life on Earth” includes animals, the Planetary Health Alliance’s definition is aligned with the WVA’s mission to protect the health and well-being of animals and their communities at large.
In the face of environmental health risks such as climate change and biodiversity loss that affect our animal patients and ourselves, there is a growing need to assess the readiness of all health professionals to address these challenges. Now is the time for health professional programs to identify the gaps in their own educational systems and learn from each other. By uniting across all health sectors, health students, professionals, and advocates can drive meaningful change, improving educational efforts to safeguard the planet, our patients, and the well-being of our global community.
More information about this initiative’s corresponding survey will be made available by the WVA. Please consider contributing to this meaningful project, by completing the forthcoming survey.