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NOAA One Health Logo

About NOAA One Health

NOAA One Health’s mission is to advance our understanding of the linkages between environmental conditions and health outcomes, delivering actionable science and services to enhance stewardship through predictive data, tools, and services. Simultaneously, NOAA One Health envisions a diverse, resilient future with safe oceans and thriving ecosystems to protect the health and well-being of humans, animals, plants, and the environment.

NOAA’s Unique Role

With our world facing pressing challenges that underlie complex and close relationships between the environment, ecosystems, and human, animal, and plant populations, targeting these unprecedented, rapid changes requires developing interdisciplinary action to stimulate collaborative research and pioneer forward-thinking solutions across the climate and health sectors. When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded around us and led to irreversible health risks and devastating socioeconomic impacts across the human-animal-environmental nexus, NOAA initiated environmental monitoring and interdisciplinary health research for this pressing One Health issue to evaluate the complex, interconnected dynamics between air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate variability. At the forefront of marine ecosystem health efforts and environmental intelligence initiatives, NOAA has a unique, ever-evolving role in the global One Health framework as the nation‘s leader in oceanographic, meteorological, and atmospheric predictive science. Each line office in NOAA has the policy drivers and relevant roles to contribute towards the overarching, agency-wide climate and health sector work. From cutting-edge research to advancing global policies across the deep sea and expansive skies, the agency has the data-driven, interdisciplinary capacity to build toward ecosystem resilience and global health security in a positive and sustainable trajectory.

What is the One Health framework?

The NOAA One Health Network One Health applies a collaborative, multidisciplinary, and cross-sector approach to address potential or existing health risks at the interface of humans, animals, plants, and ecosystems. Through cross-cutting collaboration and communication, the One Health approach is a vital nexus to coordinating dynamic solutions for global health issues with a collective and contemporary lens.

From the One Health Commission to the One Health Joint Plan of Action (2022 – 2026) developed by the Quadripartite Organizations – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO), One Health approach is a globally accepted framework that recognizes the interconnectivity of these crucial issues and bridges the gaps between these important health domains. NOAA One Health advances NOAA’s science, services, and stewardship by providing authoritative ecological and marine organism data, science, and services at the intersection of environmental conditions and health outcomes.

How is NOAA involved in the One Health framework?

A diverse group of One Health professionals joined Josh Green, Governor of the state of Hawaiʻi, for the Hawaiʻi One Health Month Proclamation signing ceremony, February 6, 2023. Left to Right: Back: Neil Vizeau, USDA; Sandra Chang University of Hawaiʻi, John A. Burns School of Medicine; Stephanie Kendrick, Hawaiian Humane Society; Stacie Robinson, NOAA Fisheries; Front: David Lassner UH President, Julie Bennington VCA Veterinary Clinic, Jenee Odani UH College of Tropical Agricultural and Human Resources, Josh Green, Governor of the state of Hawaiʻi, Kirsten Leong, NOAA Fisheries; Michelle Barbieri, NOAA Fisheries.
A diverse group of One Health professionals joined Josh Green, Governor of the state of Hawaiʻi, for the Hawaiʻi One Health Month Proclamation signing ceremony, February 6, 2023.

The NOAA One Health approach builds on the agency’s years of innovative scientific breakthroughs and rich depth of expertise in ocean conservation and exploration, climate science and research, weather forecasting, fisheries management, satellite monitoring, and environmental stewardship across local, regional, national, and global scales.

The NOAA One Health activities, functions, and deliverables are listed below:

  1. Bolster NOAA’s One Health capabilities and develop the NOAA Health Strategy with up-to-date climate and health-relevant information.
  2. Represent NOAA within the health sector and enhance external One Health community engagement.
  3. Advance strategic pathways to build innovative connections between NOAA leadership and the diverse health community.
  4. Engage with the diverse public, animal health, science, and research sectors to address applicable health community priorities.

Coordinate NOAA One Health interagency partnerships with other One Health programs through Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), collaborations, and climate and health subject-matter development.

When has NOAA worked in the One Health framework?

NOAA's Juli Trtanj descibes the Global Initiative for Cholera Early Warning at the GEO-X summit in Geneva.
NOAA's Juli Trtanj descibes the Global Initiative for Cholera Early Warning at the GEO-X summit in Geneva.
From serving as the U.S. representative of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) since 1997 to co-chairing the global, intergovernmental organization Group on Earth Observations (GEO) since 2005, NOAA has an extensive history as an essential leader in climate and health issues. In 2010, the NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Oceans and Health Working Group (OHWG) produced a report emphasizing ocean health threats, underrepresented opportunities, and the agency’s contributions to the health community. NOAA is indispensable in connecting the health of oceans, animals (including marine mammals, fisheries species, sea turtles, coral reefs, sharks, endangered and threatened species, and invertebrates), humans, and global ecosystems. Highlighting the urgent need for a more coordinated and collaborative approach to enhance ongoing capacity and future work in the health sector across the line offices, the One Health Strategy addresses this crucial gap.  There is a necessity for informed decision-making and actionable science to understand and mitigate global health threats and to enhance opportunities derived from ocean-related health benefits. Through the agency’s mission, legislative mandates, scientific expertise, and partnerships with other agencies, NOAA is well-positioned to contribute to the environmental protection and marine health facets within the One Health framework. Creating innovative pathways and developing a comprehensive One Health program can effectively coordinate the diverse, agency-wide climate and health portfolio.

Why is NOAA focusing on One Health?

The kelp forest in California serves as a nursery for many species of fish, including these juvenile blacksmiths. Photo Credit: Laura Tesler
The kelp forest in California serves as a nursery for many species of fish, including these juvenile blacksmiths. Photo Credit: Laura Tesler

Recent international events, such as the United Nations/World Health Organization International Conference on Space and Global Health and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP28), showcase the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations and raising awareness for behavior change supporting biodiversity conservation, sustainability, and capacity building across climate and health sectors. Proven with the  2021 House Appropriations Committee Report and the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, One Health has had momentous developments within the policy space, integral to building actionable solutions for global health issues. 

Work within One Health fosters an interdisciplinary and diverse space for economic vitality and supports scientifically sound, environmentally sustainable, and just practices and policies. NOAA’s focus on the New Blue Economy is born out of this idea, as the Blue Economy framework combines these understandings of health with responsible and sustainable economic growth and social equity. Focused on engaging, educating, and empowering across diverse expertise of scientists, practitioners, and leaders, strengthening the connectivity and communication of climate and health sector activities with the One Health approach builds towards developing a leading-edge, unified vision for the agency as a whole.

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