Baby sea turtles being held in hands

One Health for All

Hopkins Bloomberg and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine establish dual MPH/DVM program.

By Jackie Powder • Photo by Redwhitecreative/iStock

It wasn’t long ago that One Health—the connectedness of human, animal and environmental health—was far removed from the mainstream of the public health and medical communities. 

In the past 20 years, however, this unifying approach to well-being has been gaining traction: The CDC established a One Health office in 2007. The Council on Education for Public Health, in a 2016 revision of its public health school accreditation criteria, started requiring the teaching of One Health as part of “factors related to human health.” 

And the Bloomberg School, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration for the institution, partnered in 2016 with the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts in the West Indies. The agreement established a dual MPH/DVM degree and allows for research, education and practicum exchanges. 

The collaboration comes at a time when multidisciplinary strategies are increasingly important in addressing public health problems, such as antimicrobial resistance in livestock and poultry, and emerging and reemerging disease outbreaks with animal origins. 

“There need to be strengthened relationships between human health agencies, agricultural agencies, veterinary professionals and other stakeholders … to influence our understanding of interventions to combat human disease,” says Meghan Davis, PhD ’12, MPH ’08, DVM, an assistant professor in Environmental Health and Engineering and former dairy veterinarian.

Ross’s Caribbean location is rich with research opportunities, says Davis, who is helping to develop the collaboration. Possible topics include zoonoses (diseases spread from animals to people), the effects of development on wildlife populations and disaster response through a veterinary lens. 

Incoming full-time MPH cohorts have typically included between two and five established veterinarians, says MPH program chair Marie Diener-West, PhD ’84

As the Ross initiative expands, she says, the dual MPH/DVM degree may attract students from more veterinary schools in the future.