In this DC Blood Oration, Professor Michael Lairmore, the Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California - Davis, examines how an emerging approach termed One Health is uniting veterinarians, physicians, scientists, and other health and environmental professionals to address complex problems that recognise the vast interrelationships between human, animal and environmental health.

Almost daily, as a society, we experience the connection between the health of humans, animals and the environment. The Zika virus – carried by mosquitoes and spreading in many regions in the world – is suspected of causing thousands of human birth defects in Brazil and was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. As much as 75 per cent of new or re-emerging diseases affecting humans are of animal origin. New infectious diseases, climate change and a moving political landscape are some of the changes that veterinarians, physicians, scientists and other health and environmental professionals must adapt to in meeting these global challenges.

'One Health' is uniting these professionals in many parts of the world to address complex problems that recognise the vast interrelationships between human, animal and environmental health. It harnesses the power of collaborative expertise to solve the pressing issues we face in our mobile society.

It is critical that community, government and university leaders – together with veterinarians and other health professionals – support a united One Health approach to solving rapidly emerging diseases on a local and global scale.

The DC Blood Oration is part of the University of Melbourne's Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences' Dean's Lecture Series.