April 6, 2021

One Health Legislation UPDATES!!
To the informal coalition of U.S. One Health partner organizations

To: The informal coalition of U.S. One Health Partner organizations

From: The One Health Commission and an Adhoc One Health Advocacy Working Group

Subject:  Breaking One Health 2021 News!! and 2020 One Health legislative advances
(See suggested Actions at the end of this letter that you and your organization can take to help.)

Breaking News! 
March 18, 2021

Greetings One Health Colleagues: 

Thank you for your organization’s participation in the informal coalition of U.S. partners supporting One Health.  Additional organizations are invited to join this coalition by following the instructions in the original invitational message

This letter provides updates on efforts to advance One Health legislation in the United States.
  • See the bottom of this webpage  for an overview of 2019 and 2020 One Health legislation advocacy activities led by a small adhoc One Health Advocacy working group 
  • Review a compilation of Bills (2016 - 2020) that 'DO' include One Health and many relevant bills that Did Not incorporate One Health (but potentially should have).

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased awareness and understanding of One Health among the general public and among U.S. lawmakers. Prior to 2020, only four One Health Congressional Bills had ever been introduced in the U.S., including the Advancing Emergency Preparedness through One Health Act of 2019 (S. 1903/H.R. 3771) that was introduced in June and July, 2019 in both chambers of the 116th Congress.

But in 2020, in the face of the pandemic,  one Senate Resolution (One Health Awareness Month, passed 'before the pandemic hit'), one House Resolution (same title, never passed),  seven Congressional bills and one Appropriations Committee Report included language and directives about One Health.  And now the One Health Act has been  reintroduced in both chambers of the 117th Congress.

Significant One Health Legislation Advances in 2020

As the 116th session of Congress concluded in December 2020, lawmakers passed a massive $2.3 trillion Omnibus Appropriations bill.  

Notably, that final spending package included One Health language directing federal agencies to develop and report back to Congress with a national One Health Framework. 

(See: Amendment to rules Committee Print for HR6395, Offered by Mr. Schrader of Oregon that contains language identical to Sections 3 and 4 of the One Health Act of 2019.)This inclusion is a major accomplishment that advances the objectives of ensuring a federally coordinated One Health approach.

Additionally, see language that was included (pp 67-68) in that bill’s accompanying Appropri-ations Committee Bill Report requiring CDC
  • to develop a national One Health framework and
  • to work with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior to develop a One Health coordination mechanism at the federal level.
The required report will be sent to Congress by mid-June this year. 

We will need to continue educating lawmakers and their staff about the urgency of passing the One Health Act to officially create a National One Health Framework and Program.  

Education and Advocacy Plans for 2021

It is important that lawmakers and their staff  understand the full scope of One Health, beyond zoonotic diseases,  and how urgently needed it is right here at home in the US. A 2-3 part series of  ‘What is One Health?’ educational webinars, designed for the public, lawmakers, and their staff, are being planned for the next few months. Suggested topics include:
  1. One Health 101 for the Public and Lawmakers
  2. One Health in the US - Gaps, Gains, Challenges and Opportunities
  3. One Health and Animal Bio-Surveillance in the US

How you and your group can help!

It is important that legislators consistently hear from individuals and from organizations urging support for One Health! The more that lawmakers and the public hear the words One Health and have it explained to them, the better. We must help them understand that One Health is about more than zoonotic diseases (see https://tinyurl.com/OH-Awareness   and  https://tinyurl.com/OH-Aware-Cal) and is desperately needed to address many of our most ‘wicked’ challenges.

[Note: We also must be very careful not to let One Health become a political football. Like wearing a mask in the current pandemic, One Health is about public health and the health of the planet, not politics.]

  • Let your voice be heard! Weigh in as an individual with your lawmaker(s) at the state or federal level! If helpful, you may use this Advance One Health Legislation Action Alert provided by the AVMA to identify and contact ‘your’ lawmakers. 
  • Please review at the bottom of this webpage information about the informal coalition of U.S. One Health Partner organizations that formed late in 2019. Explore whether your group's members are part of any additional organizations that may want to be added to the coalition to receive updates (such as this one) and to lend their support for One Health legislation in the US.

It is also important that the Biden administration hear from the One Health community. A letter to the White House from this coalition of U.S. One Health partner organizations is being prepared to further raise awareness of the urgency of implementing One Health in the U.S. government. We will share that letter with you for approval and comments before it is sent. We also encourage you to send your own letters to the White House highlighting your One Health arena and urging the administration’s support for One Health! 

Finally, you may want to be aware of, share and provide input for this COVID-19 and One Health webpage.   Its length may be impressive and overwhelming, but it provides for the lay public tremendous One Health education relative to COVID-19.

Thank you, again, for being part of this informal coalition. We look forward to significant progress for One Health in 2021.

Cheryl Stroud, DVM, PhD
Executive Director, One Health Commission
Direct Phone: 224-622-1839
One Health Commission | Phone: +1.984.500.8093| www.onehealthcommission.org