New award recognizes efforts to promote ‘One Health’

One Health

It may be cliché to say that everything on the planet is interconnected, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

That’s the underlying concept of what has come to be known as “One Health” or “One Medicine”: that the wellbeing of humans, animals, and the environment is interdependent. Healthcare professionals, therefore, must be prepared to gain and share knowledge from outside their narrow specialties.

To recognize exemplary contributions toward efforts to expand interdisciplinary education and improve care, deans of the four health schools at Penn—the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Nursing Science, the School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Veterinary Medicine—have announced a new Award for Excellence in promoting One Health Initiatives (OHI) and Interprofessional Education (IPE).

Nominations for Penn staff and faculty who engage in these inclusive ventures are being accepted through, Friday, Jan. 25.

A faculty committee appointed by the four deans will choose a winning individual or team that will receive the award and a $500 cash prize at the international conference “Feeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World” being held at Penn in March.

“One of the reasons we’re putting together the award is that Penn does an awesome job at connecting all the of the healthcare-profession schools,” says Joan Hendricks, dean of Penn Vet. “We do an enormous amount of collaborative research among all four. We’re doing increasing levels of interprofessional student education, and we’re starting to look into community outreach. We wanted to have a venue for recognizing these accomplishments.”

Examples of potential award-winning enterprises include: developing a multi-school service or teaching program, including students from multiple schools in a clinical experience, and building connections between professionals who treat or study humans and those who focus on animals.

Beyond recognizing existing programs, Hendricks hopes the award will also encourage the Penn community to consider new strategies for increasing collaboration in service, teaching, and research that has an aim of benefiting the welfare of animals and society.

“Penn does so much, but we could do a lot more,” she says. “This is really an effort to raise awareness.”

Nominations for staff and faculty members should be sent with a letter of recommendation that describes the candidate’s contributions to OHI and/or IPE to Cerie O’Toole at cerieo@vet.upenn.edu by Jan. 25.

Originally published on January 10, 2013