J2.1 What is One Health: Why Should I Care, and What is the Connection to Climate, Weather and Water? (Core Keynote Lecture)

Monday, 11 January 2016: 4:00 PM
Room 228/229 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Juli Trtanj, NOAA/OAR/Climate Program Office, Silver Spring, MD

One Health is a global construct that recognizes and promotes understanding that ecosystem health, animal health and human health are intricately linked. Animals include domestic, agricultural, and wildlife—both terrestrial and marine. Ecological systems include both terrestrial and ocean. Weather and climate influence ecosystem, animal and human health, as well as the interaction among them. Changes in precipitation and temperature patterns, extreme weather events, and sea level rise can directly affect human health. Indirect health influences can arise from ecological disruptions caused by changes in weather and climate across time scales, biological diversity, ocean acidification, or societal responses to changing weather patterns and climate adaptation efforts. For instance, during the Little Ice Age, extreme climate events drove harvest failures and disease epidemics. Recent research is helping to identify environmental changes and related animal reservoirs for Ebola and other infectious diseases—but how can we use this to predict the next outbreak? The Arctic is rapidly warming--but what is the impact of these changes on marine and terrestrial ecosystems, the traditional food supply and cultural practices, and on animal and wildlife diseases and human health? El Nino-related climate impacts in the southwestern United States are known to trigger a cascade of ecological conditions that lead to Hantavirus, a virus transmitted to humans by rodents—but does the same hold true for plague? Temperature and humidity are known impacts on mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria or West Nile Virus, both directly and through changes in habitat—but how do we use this? Increases in sea surface temperature—up to a point--are a known predictor of cholera risk--but how does that affect our shellfish or our sanitation systems? How will changes in ocean ecology affect the health of marine animals and what does that mean for human health? How will changes in species abundance and distribution affect the reservoirs and routes of transmission for vector-borne and zoonotic diseases—and can we be better prepared? Extreme heat not only affects vulnerable populations in urban environments, but rural and outdoor workers, and pets, livestock and wildlife as well--so what are the impacts on both the ecosystem and our health? It is well-established that the world is warming, ocean temperatures are rising, and extreme weather events will be more frequent and more intense. The world's population is increasingly connected, without borders, and interconnected in unprecedented ways. But ecological drivers alone are not enough to understand the dynamics of these complex interactions, because social, behavioral and demographic factors modulate the impact and the response. Rather than be daunted by this task, the climate, weather and water communities have a unique opportunity to be part of a broader global effort to help understand and predict these changes, and ultimately protect our health and our ecological systems. One Health involves applying a coordinated, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and cross-sector approach to address potential or existing risks that originate at the interface of humans, animals, and ecosystems. Meteorologists and climate scientists bring fundamental knowledge, skills, and experiences that can improve the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems today and throughout the coming decades. In fact engagement of climate, weather and water scientists is critical to achieve these goals—from modeling and prediction, determining and sustaining the most useful earth observations, monitoring trends and indicators, collaborative research and communication that informs decisions at multiple levels. And understanding and using the volume of earth science data as part of this One Health community is critical—just as critical as understanding and proper use of health data. That kind of useful integration only happens by being engaged in each other's communities—listening, learning, and then producing truly actionable information together. One Health, adopted by the veterinary and animal health community, public health, and ecological health communities provides a working framework that fosters integration among the data, science, research and interventions across these communities. The science challenges alone present an enormous gap and career opportunities, as does turning that science into usable or actionable information. It may seem obvious that the health of the earth's ecological and physical systems is fundamentally tied to human and animal health and well-being—but understanding how, and using that knowledge to proactively improve the health of all three elements is a critical challenge facing our society in the 21st century. This talk will cover a brief history of the One Health concept, illustrate the concept drawing on examples of climate and weather driven changes in precipitation and temperature patterns including extreme heat, flooding, drought; changes in terrestrial and ocean biodiversity including the marine food supply and disruptions not only in the market place but in longstanding cultural traditions and heritage; and changes in terrestrial and infectious disease. This talk will also highlight current prediction and forecasting efforts to operationalize One Health in the federal government, as well as the AMS Statement on One Health recently released by the AMS Board on Environment and Health.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner