Global One Health connects Ohio State to Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Brazil, Thailand, China, India and beyond in a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to improve health, build capacity, and provide learning opportunities for students across the globe.
Wondwossen Gebreyes, PhD, DVM, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and executive director of Global One Health, initiated the project in 2009. The program expanded three years later to include Ohio State’s seven health sciences colleges as well as the colleges of agriculture, business, engineering and social work. Today hundreds of Ohio State students, faculty and staff are involved in the project, addressing cervical cancer, maternal and child health, food safety, rabies prevention and control and sharing the information through innovative e-learning technology. Global One Health is the university’s largest, interdisciplinary example of institutional teamwork operating on a global scale.
Over 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic (e.g. they originate in animals, but can mutate and spillover into the human population, like Ebola.) Every four months a new infectious zoonotic disease emerges and fewer than 20 percent of countries are equipped and able to respond quickly. This is why an integrated One Health approach is so critical. It addresses the interaction between human, animal and environmental wellness so that globally we are better prepared to predict and prevent the next disease outbreak.
The scope of Ohio State’s Global One Health projects includes: 1) Prevention and control of (re)-emerging zoonotic infectious diseases; 2) Collaborative approaches to prevent, detect and respond to antimicrobial resistance; 3) Development and testing of rapid, point-of-care, field-deployable detection systems; 4) Evaluation of environmental risk factors that impact agricultural food systems, chronic diseases (such as cancer) and other economic and health outcomes; 5) Development of efficient digital and virtual systems for high impact translational research, training and outreach.
Already well established in East Africa – where the initiative gained momentum – Ohio State opened a Global One Health office in Addis Ababa in 2016 to manage activities throughout the region.
Global One Health is a prime example of Ohio State’s commitment as a global institution and demonstrates the successful contributions by faculty and students to engage in meaningful and beneficial partnerships to gain and share knowledge, and find innovative solutions to the world’s most compelling issues.