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Center integrates human, animal, environmental health
Date:9/16/2010

CHAMPAIGN, lll. The Center for One Health Illinois, established at the University of Illinois last year with a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will receive another $500,000 in grants over several years from the USDA to pursue its mission of fostering collaborations and the free flow of information among those in the fields of medicine, public health, the environment and agriculture.

The center has three areas of engagement: educating a new cadre of cross-trained public health practitioners, working with public health agencies to improve disease surveillance, and fostering collaborative research.

In 2004, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois in Chicago established a joint degree program that allows students to complete a master's degree in public health concurrent with their studies for a doctorate in veterinary medicine. The DVM/MPH program has enrolled 33 students so far, four of whom have completed both degrees, and is part of a national trend that recognizes the interdependence of human and animal health.

A growing awareness of zoonotic diseases, which originate in animals but can spread to humans, has contributed to this trend. More than 60 percent of the 1,400 pathogens that affect people originate, or are amplified, in other animals.

Although many of these diseases must be reported to local and state health departments when humans are infected, veterinarians are not alerted to their occurrence, said John Herrmann, a professor of clinical veterinary medicine who directs the DVM/MPH program at Illinois. Similarly, veterinarians report outbreaks of many of the same diseases to agricultural officials, but those officials have no system for passing the information to public health agencies.

"The state agriculture department and the state health department are only a few blocks from each other in Springfield," Herrmann said. "But w
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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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