Global One Health post-graduate programmes: a review

One Health Outlook. 2024 Apr 10;6(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s42522-024-00097-6.


Background: The One Health (OH) approach recognises that humans, animals, plants, and the environment are interrelated, and therefore seeks to facilitate collaboration, communication, coordination, and capacity building between relevant stakeholders to achieve a healthier ecosystem. This calls for integrating OH into established governance, policy, health, education, and community structures, and requires OH professionals equipped with the necessary inter and trans-disciplinary skillset. Therefore, numerous OH training programmes are currently being offered globally. However, the coordination and contents of some of these trainings have been criticised as inconsistent and inadequately standardised, and therefore could serve as a barrier to OH implementation. In this study, an up-to-date repository of a subset of OH academic programmes offered globally was provided, and their curricula contents was critically assessed.

Methods: Between December 2022 and April 2023, an online search for key terms 'ONE HEALTH MASTERS COURSES', and 'ONE HEALTH MASTERS PROGRAMMES' together with variations of 'AFRICA', 'NORTH AMERICA', 'ASIA', 'AUSTRALIA', 'EUROPE', 'GLOBAL' was conducted. Details about course title, delivery mode, joint administration status, curricula contents, language of instruction, years to completion, host university, country, and continent were collected.

Results: Forty-three programmes met inclusion criteria of the study, and almost all (n = 36, 83.7%) were tailored towards infectious diseases and population/global health, compared to the environmental and conservation perspectives. Compiled curricula contents clustered into one of these 12 sub-headings: 'principles and concepts of OH', 'epidemiology and biostatistics', 'major branches of OH', 'internship/externship/research project', 'infectious diseases, zoonoses, and surveillance', 'risk analysis and crises management', 'food safety, microbiology, immunology, and allied', 'communication', 'ethics', 'economics, policy, and management' and 'others. Of these, infectious disease themes were the most common. Regarding geography and organising institutions, North America and Europe, and veterinary institutions, respectively, were the most represented.

Conclusion: Despite the multi-level diversity observed, uniformity still exists across the programmes which favours interdisciplinary cross-talks. Future pedagogical studies that objectively assess the alignment of module contents with the OH core competencies and the impacts of these OH programmes is recommended. With this study, a critical information gap that has existed for long in the OH field has been bridged.

Keywords: Core competencies; Curricula; Master programme; One Health.