One Health Master's Degree (OHM)
Many of the challenges that residents of the Circumpolar North will face in the future are in the realm of One Health – the intersection and interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health. Creating solutions to these challenges will require individuals who are knowledgeable about One Health concepts These individuals need to communicate effectively across cultures and educational backgrounds, bring together stakeholders and disciplinary experts, and utilize a variety of problem-solving skills that lead to effective mitigation plans emphasizing adaptation and resilience.
The Master in One Health Program at UAF provides training and, most importantly, practice
in those specific areas. It is a unique interdisciplinary degree that requires an
understanding and integration of science, culture, history, communication, and more.
There is no other degree like it in Alaska or the Circumpolar North.
Brief Program Statement:
- One Health encompasses the relationship between human health, animal health, and the health of the environment holding that these entities are inextricably linked to the extent that none can be optimal unless they are all optimal.
- One Health is interdisciplinary and inclusive; it invites the full participation of community members working together with scientists, health practitioners, tribal leaders, and government agency personnel to identify problems and create realistic, sustainable solutions to those problems.
- This program will provide knowledge and problem-solving skills for individuals who will be involved in managing One Health challenges at the community, state, federal, and international level.
- Implementing a constructionist approach and using the knowledge and skills developed in the coursework, students will finish the program with the creation of a management plan to address a problem that students and community members have identified. The plan will be presented to stakeholders and content experts in a public forum.
The One Health Master’s Degree (OHM) educates students to use a constructionist approach to address issues in the Circumpolar North that are at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health. Graduates of the program will be able to engage key stakeholders to develop and implement realistic management plans that can be implemented in communities across the Circumpolar North.
Within the next 10 years, individuals who have a comprehensive understanding of One Health and an ability to utilize a community-centered, constructionist approach to problem-solving are likely to emerge as leaders in solving a wide array of problems in the Circumpolar North. UAF’s Master of One Health program will be recognized as a leader in educating these individuals.
We anticipate that this degree will attract students who are already engaged or interested in working in their communities to address One Health issues, and that it will also attract students seeking entrance to medical or veterinary schools who want to deepen their understanding of One Health and incorporate the paradigm and problem-solving skills into their future medical careers. For this reason, we propose two concentrations in the One Health Master’s: a Community Advocacy Concentration and a Biomedical Concentration.
The 19 credits in the core of this degree will provide training in communication, epidemiology, conflict resolution, cultural awareness, and skills for gathering pertinent data. The capstone sequence of courses (DVM F615, DVM F620, and DVM F621) will culminate in utilizing that knowledge and those skills to identify the root causes of a One Health problem and build a comprehensive management plan that addresses the root causes and proposes a realistic pathway to solving the problem.
This interdisciplinary, integrative, constructionist approach will involve One Health students working with key stakeholders and community members to identify the problem, interview key stakeholders and knowledge bearers in both traditional knowledge and western scientific knowledge, gather data from reliable sources, and, utilizing various planning techniques such as One Health SMART and scenarios building, create a management plan to address and solve or mitigate the problem.
Because it is central to the One Health Master’s Degree, this 19-credit core will be required for students in both concentrations. Additional courses are proposed for the two concentrations: courses in veterinary medicine and biology for those in the Biomedical Concentration and courses in social sciences for those in the Community Advocacy Concentration. Successful One-Health professionals will need to be aware of the social, cultural, governmental, historical, and scientific realities that influence One Health issues and their solutions. To accommodate this breadth, we have provided an array of courses from multiple disciplines. With guidance from the OHM faculty and staff, students will select courses that best complement their previous education and experience, and dovetail most closely with their future education and career choices.
The One Health paradigm developed in the Veterinary Medical profession where it focused largely on the difficulties of monitoring and managing zoonotic diseases. It has grown in the past few years to become a framework for solving a wider array of problems. Our program is unique in that identifying and resolving issues begins at the community level and works outward, engaging stakeholders from local, state, national, and even international agencies. One Health is inherently interdisciplinary.
The focus of our One Health Master’s Degree is communicating about One Health challenges
and proposing solutions to those challenges; it does not rely on all participants
having in depth scientific knowledge, but instead on gathering expertise and communicating
effectively to provide solutions. The program’s strength is in creating a community
of diverse participants committed to examining and solving One Health problems by
drawing information and data from cultural, social science, natural science, and medical
This program has been launched completely online. This has allowed partners across
the Circumpolar North to more easily enroll in and complete the OHM. Plans to offer
an in-person or hybrid version of the program are in process and will be implemented
when it is safe to do so.