The University of Tennessee announced a new health research initiative today at the Board of Trustees meeting.
The UT One Health Initiative will look at how the health of humans, animals and the environment are connected, and improving the health of all three.
It will combine the research efforts of UT-Knoxville, the UT Institute of Agriculture, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the UT Health Science Center, Interim System President Randy Boyd announced on Wednesday.
“We recognize that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the health of the environment,” Boyd said on Tuesday. “We’re all one ecosystem. The health of one affects the health of others. We want to do research around those connections and improve the health of them all.”
Hongwei Xin, the dean of UT AgResearch, said it will be “a holistic system approach.”
“One Health is really the nexus of animals, people, planet and the environment, the crops,” Xin said. “As (Boyd) mentioned…health is really tied to other living things.”
An immediate focus for One Health will be researching Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease that affects deer in Tennessee, Xin said. Another area of focus will be on the health of cattle, which then improves the health of humans and the surrounding environments.