In 2023, we entered the fourth year into the pandemic of COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a zoonotic disease (transmitted between animals and people). One might wonder what can be done to prevent future pandemics?
Many organizations across Hawaiʻi are taking a proactive approach by focusing on One Health, the concept that the health of people is connected to the health of the surrounding animals, plants and biodiversity. One Health is in harmony with Mauli Ola, the Hawaiian concept of physical, spiritual and mental health and of social and cultural wellbeing and is deeply rooted in the indigenous belief that the health of the individual and the community are inextricably linked to the health of the environment.
Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green, MD, proclaimed January 2023 as “Hawaiʻi One Health Month” and called upon the people of Hawaiʻi to support, strengthen and expand One Health-related efforts in the state.
“Solving these complex problems requires an integrated approach and concerted efforts of multiple professionals and trainees working in a variety of fields, such as human health, animal health, environmental sciences, public health, statistics, economics, agronomy, social sciences, human-animal studies, engineering, and natural resource management and stewardship,” the proclamation states.
Also, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa proudly announces its One Health Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate Program, which was recently approved by the Manoa Faculty Senate, Provost Michael Bruno and President David Lassner, with the first students expected to enroll in Summer 2023.
“This, combined with the governor’s proclamation of January 2023 as Hawaii One Health Month, makes this a watershed moment for this initiative!” said Dr. Sandra Chang, PhD, One Health Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate program director and professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).
The UH One Health Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate Program prepares students with the skills and knowledge to work collaboratively across disciplines to solve real-world problems using the One Health approach. This certificate, based in the UH Manoa Interdisciplinary Studies Program, is a partnership of faculty from JABSOM, the Office of Public Health Studies in the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, the Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The certificate program received initial support from the Provost’s Strategic Investment Initiative program in 2019.
The new program curriculum consists of 15 credits in One-Health related coursework, including a One-Health research project mentored by UH faculty or practicum capstone project. Both undergraduate and post baccalaureate students are eligible to enroll in the program.
See more information about the certificate and how to apply at https://manoa.hawaii.edu/onehealth
In addition, UH Mānoa One Health was among more than 100 students, researchers, faculty and staff at the 2023 Mānoa Research Day at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on Feb. 7, 2023.
Below, see photos from the proclamation signing and of UH Mānoa One Health during Research Day at the State Capitol. Photos by Matthew Campbell and Vina Cristobal.