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Veterinary Public Health
Section Newsletter
Fall 2010




A big thank you to everyone that participated in our survey!  The results showed a strong preference for changing our name to the One Health SPIG.   This won by a large margin, 20 points above the next most popular suggestion.  The APHA must approve the change and I have already submitted the necessary paper work.   Again, thank you and will keep all posted!


The inputs on our vision were clear.  Many thought it was a good statement as is, but I did try to incorporate other trends without changing the underlying concept.  I propose our new vision statement read:

The Veterinary Public Health Special Primary Interest Group (VPH) focuses on the interface of humans and animals; not just the shared diseases but also the quality of life, health benefits, and environmental health issues.  We positively influence the human-animal connection and advance the One Health concept.   


The AVMA, NASPHV and AAPHV were the most numerous suggestions as our best partners.  I have had contact with board members of the NASPHV and AAPHV and will introduce our SPIG to the AVMA’s One Health initiative leaders.   I am hoping to enlist their support on several goals/initiatives suggested by our members.


  Speaking of projects, besides our obvious roles in zoonotic diseases, the most numerous suggestions for projects were:

1.       Provide stimulating and thought provoking educational programs, particularly at the annual APHA convention


2.       Be the APHA’s leaders on:

a.       Food safety (we should utilize our collective knowledge to craft policies and resolutions on food safety – or others most assuredly will)

b.      The health benefits of animals (above and beyond nutrition) – a concept that was neatly capture in the term “Zooeyia” at this year’s AVMA.   

c.       Humane treatment of animals, including advancing TNR as a cat management program where possible.  The Vet PH SPIG recommends TNR be discussed as a preferred option for feral/stray cat management.

d.      Climate change (both the effect animal agriculture may be having on the climate, as well as the effect a changing climate may have on animal agriculture.)

e.       Advancing the One Health initiative.  There are numerous organizations pushing the One Health concept, but are any organizations pulling it?    The AMA supports the concept, but what can be done to advance it within the APHA?


If you have an interest in any of these topics and/or would like to take the lead, please let me know.  I can team you up with professionals in other public health organizations. 


Additionally, our SPIG should be leaders within the APHA for developments and issues on antibiotic use in animal feeds; the proposal to mandate identification for interstate shipping of livestock; the Farm Bill updates; and the environmental and health effects of animal agriculture.  The APHA has already submitted a resolution on many of these topics and I encourage all to review it:



Lastly, we should challenge and encourage our veterinary colleagues to take the initiative and engage (over lunch or coffee) local family practitioners, pediatricians, and/or local public health officials on roles and interactions.   There is no down side to this type of dialogue.  If in need of an icebreaker topic, suggest starting with the incidence of deep mycotic infections in the area (eg. Blastomycosis, Coccidioidomycosis, etc.) .  Other topics may include the health benefits of owning a pet, the reality of the zoonotic aspects of parasites such as pinworms, and the “get rid of the cat” as treatment for asthma and allergies.


Thank you!


Bill Courtney

Chair, Veterinary (One Health) SPIG


Slogan: “Advancing animal health advances human