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One Health is "the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines - working locally, nationally and globally - to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment".
One Health is a new phrase, but the concept extends back to ancient times. The recognition that environmental factors can impact human health can be traced as far back as to the Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 BCE - c. 370 BCE) in his text "On Airs, Waters, and Places". He promoted the concept that public health depended on a clean environment.
"One Health" was mentioned in a story about Ebola hemorrhagic fever on April 7, 2003, when Rick Weiss of the Washington Post quoted William Karesh as saying, "Human or livestock or wildlife health can't be discussed in isolation anymore. There is just one health. And the solutions require everyone working together on all the different levels."
The One Health Commission (OHC), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in the U.S., was created out of the joint efforts of leaders from multiple disciplines. Briefly, in 2007 Roger Mahr, then president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), invited Ronald Davis, then President of the American Medical Association (AMA), to open conversations to bring the animal and human medical communities together. The two organizations each followed with supportive resolutions: in June 2007, the AMA unanimously adopted a "One Health" resolution. and a similar resolution was passed by AVMA in July 2008. A One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF), made up of prominent health profession leaders and liaisons from the AVMA, AMA and the American Public Health Association (APHA), worked together from 2007-2008 to prepare an Executive Summary giving twelve recommendations for advancing and realizing the One Health concept. One of those recommendations was the creation of a One Health Commission. Initially led by Roger Mahr as CEO, the OHC was based first in Kansas then was headquartered for three years (2011-2013) at Iowa State University until Mahr's retirement in 2013. In late 2013 the OHC Board appointed Cheryl Stroud to become Executive Director and the Commission was moved from Iowa to the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina.
"One Health Initiative" is a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to solving global and environmental health challenges. The One Health Initiative Autonomous pro bono team started the One Health Initiative website in 2008 which has since been serving as a global repository for all news and information pertaining to One Health. Organizations supporting this movement include the American Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, the UC Davis One Health Institute, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, The American Association of Public Health Physicians, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). Additionally, more than 850 prominent scientists, physicians and veterinarians worldwide have endorsed the initiative.
Since 2008, the European Union "has promoted the OH approach, and it has already been integrated into certain EU strategy documents." In the United States, the CDC has a One Health website with One Health resources.
The 1st International One Health Congress met in February 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. In 2013, the 2nd International One Health Congress met in Bangkok, Thailand. The 1st One Health Conference in Africa was held in July 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The World Bank is investigating how to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of a One Health approach to global health. In June 2012, the World Bank published the economic benefits of One Health.
The importance of One Health is promoted by scientists in many countries and supported by prominent organizations including the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health, The International Federation for Animal Health, Global Alliance for Rabies Control, New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine (NZCCM), Hubnet in Asia the One Health Global Network, the University of California One Health Center, Academic Hospital Utrecht and Utrecht Life Sciences  and the Infection Ecology and Epidemiology Network, Uppsala, Sweden.