Our Planet, Our Health

A new breadth subject. If you are interested in human and animal health, ecology or biodiversity, this subject may be for you.

All life on earth is interdependent. However, the ecological balance is under increasing threat. In the last decade, the world has been shaken by outbreaks of dangerous diseases like Ebola, avian influenza, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Seven of the eight diseases the World Health Organization has prioritised are naturally transmissible from animals to humans.

Indigenous communities and scientists are telling the same urgent story: a biodiverse world out of balance. It is therefore more important than ever to understand the link between the health of humans, microbes, animals and the environment.

This interdisciplinary breadth subject will introduce you to the One Health concept, an emerging area of interest in the health professions which considers the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health.

Public health expert Associate Professor Rosemary Mackenzie explains the how environmental and animal health are linked to human health and what you will learn in this exciting new breadth subject.

You will learn about:

  • infectious diseases at the animal-human interface
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • outbreak detection and response, disease management and prevention
  • climate change, food security and sustainable agricultural development
  • One Health in the context of indigenous health, ethical, political, cultural and governance challenges.

Interactive classes

Your tutorials will involve simulations, role play and interactive games. Lectures will discuss real-world cases in national and international contexts such as the Hendra virus in Australia and the plague in Madagascar.

Industry learning

Hear from guest speakers who are experts in the field including the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp and the Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease) Dr Brett Sutton.

In week 5 you will visit the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at CSIRO, a leading high-containment facility designed to help protect Australia’s livestock, aquaculture and humans from emerging infectious disease threats and learn about their current One Health initiatives.


The assessment for this subject includes:

  • one hour multi choice online assessment  (35 per cent)
  • final essay 1,500 words (55 per cent)
  • participation in tutorials and practical exercise (10 per cent).


Course code



Semester 2, 2018



Offered by

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, in partnership with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

For detailed information about this breadth subject please view the handbook entry.