One Medicine Symposium talks humans and birds and pigs, oh my!

by | Dec 7, 2009

one-med-logoYou may have heard of the lions and tigers and bears from the Wizard of Oz, but this week public health professionals and veterinarians from across the state will meet to discuss humans and birds and pigs. (Cue the “Oh my!”)

The seventh annual One Medicine Symposium, “Humans & Birds & Pigs – Oh My! A One Medicine Approach to Emerging Influenzae,” will be held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham, Wednesday, Dec. 9. The term “One Medicine” summarizes the need for collaboration among multiple disciplines to more collectively approach health issues that threaten animals, humans, and the environment.

The theme and agenda of the conference focus on the effects of emerging influenzae on agriculture, public health and animal health, including influenza surveillance strategies for humans and swine, influenza viral evolution that led to the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza, impacts on the swine industry, vaccination strategies for humans and swine, wildlife concerns and more.

Speakers and participants include physicians, nurses, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, public health professionals, environmental health specialists, agriculture professionals, wildlife professionals, and federal, military, state, and local disaster responders.


Participating organizations that help to make the One Medicine Symposium happen.

We spoke with the symposium’s organizers, Dock Jones and Kelly Jeffer, from our Emergency Programs Division to find out more about the event and this buzzworthy topic.

  • How will the symposium help agriculturalists and veterinarians? Attendees will learn and discuss cross-cutting One Medicine issues with their colleagues.  One of the objectives of the symposium is to emphasize the “One Medicine” approach of close cooperation between human and veterinary medicine for a rapid and effective response to terrorism, disease and natural disasters.  The symposium encourages human and animal health professionals to come together to explore key questions to improve awareness and understanding of issues benefiting from a One Medicine approach.  With the current pandemic H1N1 influenza affecting most of us in some way, this year’s theme, “Humans & Birds & Pigs – Oh My!  A One Medicine Approach to Emerging Influenza,” is especially timely.
  • What is One Medicine and what part does the NCDA&CS and some of its employees have in it?Although the concept has been embraced since the mid-19th century, Dr. Calvin Schwabe revived the phrase “one medicine” in the 1980s.  This short and simple phrase, originally coined by Sir William Osler, summarizes the need for a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to animal, human and ecosystem health.  NCDA&CS has many employees that work collaboratively with Public Health and its partnering agencies to solve problems that the state of North Carolina faces.  For the last six years, NCDA&CS and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services hosted the annual One Medicine Symposium, tackling themes such as  climate change, globalization and emerging risks, the wildlife connection, food defense and homeland security.
  • What do attendees get out of these conferences each year? One Medicine Symposium speakers are well respected within their fields. This year, an Assistant Surgeon General and state and federal representatives will join us, as well as professionals from the swine and poultry industries.  Attendees are able to network with colleagues and discuss the most current information presented at the conference.  Continuing education credits are available for multiple disciplines including physicians, nurses, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, environmental health specialists and others.
  • Why is this an important subject to tackle at this year’s meeting? With the rising issues of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, many professionals are seeking out the most current information dealing with the subject.  The One Medicine Symposium allows participants to get a first-hand opportunity to listen to experts in the human and animal health fields.
  • If someone is interested in attending, what do they need to do? Although online registration at is now closed, you can register at the event Dec. 9, or by calling the NCSU Office of Professional Development at (919) 515-2261.  If anyone has general symposium questions, they can call Dock Jones at (919) 807-4335.