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One Health: UCD launches pioneering new centre for better health of people and the planet

Posted 22 February, 2024

Adjunct Professor Tony Holohan, Director of UCD's One Health Centre, with Professor Orla Feely, UCD President, and Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. Credit: Fennell Photography

A new centre dedicated to solving global health challenges by recognising the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment has launched at UCD.

Collaborating across a variety of sectors including government, academia, international organisations, civil society, and the private sector, the UCD One Health Centre aims to research and build awareness in relation to One Health, and how it can “protect human wellbeing and health from threats such as pandemics, obesity and antibiotic resistance”.

“We need to better understand the links between our wellbeing and the health of the planet and all its plants and animals,” said Adjunct Professor Tony Holohan, the new Director of the centre.

“We are one world, and the purpose of One Health is to help us realise that and take actions that recognise this. Through this important step, I hope that we can build a national collaboration with other universities, government agencies, industry, and all stakeholders.”

The UCD Centre for One Health will provide solutions to diseases and other global health challenges, and aims to become a national and world-class leader in developing and facilitating strategies to implement One Health.

It will take a comprehensive approach to pursuing priorities in Research Excellence, Education and Training, Community Engagement and Outreach, Policy and Advocacy, and Building Capacity and Partnerships. 

UCD President (opens in a new window)Professor Orla Feely said that the creation of the UCD One Health Centre “will enable UCD to play a role in creating solutions to these global challenges and to engage in strategic partnerships nationally to help advocate for One Health.” 

“The One Health Centre is an extremely exciting opportunity for UCD to make a valuable contribution to protecting human wellbeing and health at a global level," she added.

Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) called for increase commitment and action to invest in the “One Health” approach to tackling common threats affecting the health and well-being of humans, animals, plants and environment together.

(opens in a new window)Assistant Professor Gerald Barry, Deputy Director of the One Health Centre emphasised the Centre’s goal to promote the wellbeing of all species by fostering collaboration and cultivating strengths in leadership. 

“The Centre for One Health will facilitate more cross-sectoral teaching, research, and innovation in University College Dublin and across the academic sector through meaningful collaboration which make a positive contribution to national policy on One Health. This serves as a catalyst for positive change in global health.”

Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, who attended the centre’s launch at the College of Health and Agricultural Sciences, said the One Health centre was “a significant achievement and success story in the WHO European Region. 

“The College of Health and Agricultural Sciences is indeed setting a commendable example within the region. Your valuable contribution to the One Health approach in addressing health risks is pivotal as we navigate the ongoing implementation of this critical framework”.

By:David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Daniel Rowan, UCD Research and Innovation)

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie