Steven W. Atwood, VMD, MD, MPH, MRCVS, Veterinary Medicine Chair
Role of Veterinary Medicine in Interdisciplinary Health Care
Veterinary Medicine and veterinary medical practice are unique among the health professions in that its objectives are to enhance the health, care, productivity and well being of animals as well as the safety of animal products used by people. In fulfilling these objectives, Veterinary Medicine contributes to human health, welfare and quality of human life. Therefore the roles of Veterinary Medicine in interdisciplinary health care would include:
- Clinical observations and the results of recent research lend credibility to the centuries-old belief that the association of people and animals and the natural environment contributes to overall health and well-being.
- Through their care of companion animals, veterinarians address the health care needs of this human animal bond;
- As the primary caretakers of the health of food producing animals, veterinarians are confronted with human health care issues such as the presence of chemical residues and microbial contamination of our food. Overall the germane issues are diverse and complex and best addressed from an interdisciplinary point of view;
- The concept of ecosystem medicine proposes that a dynamic unit of varying size can be treated as a human or animal patient with deviations from the normal determined, leading to a diagnosis of major problems for which curative measures could be undertaken. There are many examples where a coordinated ecosystem approach to risk management could be undertaken and where collaboration between medical professionals could most effectively be brought to bear on important problems in environment quality, production of a safe and wholesome food supply and improving health care for all; and
- The agents of approximately four-fifths of all described infections of man are shared in nature with other vertebrate animals, the zoonoses. The veterinarians interest in zoonotic diseases extend from the areas of zoonoses investigation, disease eradication and control programs to epidemiology, laboratory diagnosis, health education and public health administration