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Former AVMA President to Head National Health Commission
Date:9/2/2009

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Roger Mahr, DVM, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), was named chief executive officer of the newly formed One Health Commission, a multi-disciplinary group established to highlight the connections between human, animal, and environmental health.

Dr. Mahr was appointed CEO at the group's first board of directors meeting on August 14 in Washington, D.C.

It is estimated that 75 percent of all emerging diseases are zoonotic, meaning that they can be transferred between animals and humans. The One Health Commission will address new and existing zoonotic diseases, such as avian influenza and West Nile Virus, through unified, collaborative efforts between veterinary medicine, human medicine, and environmental sciences.

"The convergence of human, animal, and environmental health dictates that we embrace the 'one health' concept now," Dr. Mahr said in a statement. "We live in a changing environment populated by humans and animals living increasingly interconnected lives. This creates unique health challenges which require integrated solutions and more collaboration across health science professions, academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry." Dr. Mahr began his efforts toward developing the One Health Commission when he started his presidency at the AVMA in July 2006. Speaking before the AVMA House of Delegates at the association's annual meeting in Hawaii that year, Dr. Mahr announced his intentions to form a national commission uniting veterinary and human medicine with the goal of improving and protecting animal and public health worldwide.

Within a year, the American Medical Association (AMA) partnered with the AVMA on the one health concept. Today, in addition to the AVMA and AMA, the One Health Commission is represented by the American Society for Microbiology, the Association of Academic Health Centers, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, American Public Health Association, and Association of American Medical Colleges.

The One Health Commission plans to host a national summit this fall and conduct a National Academies study on one health next year, to examine the interactions of humans, animals, and the environment.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Dr. Mahr, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or msanfilippo@avma.org.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 78,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. AVMA members are dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine including its relationship to public health and agriculture. Visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care and to access up-to-date information on the association's issues, policies and activities.


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SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association
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