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What is One Health?

One Health is an initiative stemming from the collaboration of multiple disciplines working on all levels to bring about the optimal health for people, animals, and the environment. This concept requires the study of various populations and assessment of their health in relation of the rest of their environment and what is around them. Therefore, in order to understand the health of any population, one much consider what a population come in contact with, whether directly or indirectly, and the kind of environment in which the population resides.

The field of zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases is the most obvious example of the association between humans, animals and their environments. As a result of an increasing recognition of the importance of these relationships, One Health has come to represent an unified theoretical framework under which physicians, veterinarians, public health officials, epidemiologists, biomedical researchers, ecologists, water quality experts, and many others, collaborate to more fully understand the complex relationships that contribute to overall health and disease.
~ One Health Center, Berry College

One Health (sometimes called “One Medicine”) programs have been established at the CDC, WHO, and at several leading universities, including UC-Davis and UGA. Berry College has joined these institutions through the formation of a One Health Center with the goal of bringing together health-related disciplines within our academic schools and beyond for the promotion of continued research and a better understanding of the interconnections between human, animal, and environmental health. 

The One Health Center is managed by a committee of Berry College faculty with expertise in the fields of Biology and Ecology, Animal Science and Animal Health, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases.

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Sherre Harrington's picture
Sherre Harrington
215 Memorial Library

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Classical Foundation of One Health

Whilst One Health is an emerging field, it has its roots in Classical Greek thought, going back to Hippocrates in his work “Concerning Air, Water, and Places”. Hippocrates begins his book by pointing out that if anyone wants to practice medicine properly, then they need to take a number of factors into consideration. These include the nature of the seasons, the winds and temperatures of a locality, the quality of the waters of an area, the temperament and situations of the people and animals that live in an area, and even the practices of the people and animals. It is only once all of these factors are taken into consideration that one can “ὀρθῶς ζητεῖν” or “heal correctly”.

Student Undergraduate Opportunities

Berry College One Health Minor

Although graduate level programs dedicated to the One Health approach are increasing available, until now there has not been a similar investment in such training at the undergraduate level. We at Berry College are therefore proud to announce that in November of 2013 Berry became the first college in the United States to approve a One Health specific curriculum at the undergraduate level. This program of study, which results in the student earning a minor in One Health, truly reflects the interdisciplinary nature inherent to the One Health concept. Berry's vast tracts of land, the wildlife preserve, and livestock facilities provide a unique opportunity to study those ecological factors potentially linked to population health, including zoonotic disease transmission. Such studies are facilitated by the student work program, for which Berry is well known. This provides the opportunity for students to be paid while working directly with faculty on One Health related research projects.