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Front. Vet. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00022

Member Perceptions of the One Health Initiative at a Zoological Institution

  • 1Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, United States
  • 2Institute for Conservation Medicine, Saint Louis Zoo, United States
  • 3Department of Audience Research, Saint Louis Zoo, United States

Zoological institutions play an important role in promoting the goals of the One Health movement. We launched the Institute for Conservation Medicine (ICM) at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2011 to advance the goals of One Health. In 2016, we distributed a survey to Zoo members to evaluate member awareness and understanding of One Health and to provide direction for future communication and actions from the ICM. We hypothesized that Zoo members would be aware of One Health and care about infectious disease issues. Survey results showed Zoo members primarily cared about chronic, non-infectious diseases and their associated economic costs, with participants ranking their top three health issues of concern for humans as nutrition/obesity/diet (49%), costs of healthcare (48%), and cancer (37%). Zoo members were interested in the roles of zoos in One Health and found them important, but were less aware of the Saint Louis Zoo’s actions that did not directly relate to animal welfare. Only 6% of members had awareness of the term “One Health” and 16% were aware of the term “Conservation Medicine.” These results suggest that zoos may do better to tailor One Health messaging to align with member interests. Messaging and programming from the Saint Louis Zoo will now include the direct benefits to human health that zoos offer, in addition to the ICM’s more ecologically focused activities. This study offered valuable insight into how Zoo members view One Health and may serve as a template to help zoological institutions develop and promote One Health.

Keywords: Conservation Medicine, Emerging diseases, Human health, Saint Louis Zoo, Public Health, Transdisciplinary

Received: 21 Sep 2017; Accepted: 05 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

Reviewed by:

Ali Mobasheri, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Sara Savic, Scientific veterinary institute "Novi Sad", Serbia  

Copyright: © 2018 Padda, Niedbalski, Tate and Deem. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: DVM, PhD. Sharon Deem, Saint Louis Zoo, Institute for Conservation Medicine, St. Louis, MO, United States, deem@stlzoo.org