October 21, 2022

SENATOR GILLIBRAND INTRODUCES GROUNDBREAKING ONE HEALTH BILL TO PREVENT, DETECT, AND RESPOND TO BIOLOGICAL THREATS

Gillibrand Was Joined by Health, Food, and Conservation Experts to Announce Whole-of-Government Approach of the One Health Security Act

NEW YORK, NY – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her groundbreaking One Health Security Act to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats. The One Health bill would create a federal council charged with preventing, detecting and responding to biological threats that significantly impact our national health, economy, and national security. Support for the One Health Security Act legislation includes New York City Health + Hospitals, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Right to Health Action, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Entomological Society of America. Gillibrand stood at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue with experts in health care, conservation, and nutrition to announce the whole-of-government approach of the bill.

“While the spread of COVID-19 is stabilizing in many parts of the world, the impact this pandemic has had on our communities and our economy presents a dire threat, not only to our global health, but also to our national security. While we can’t predict the next global biological menace, we can streamline the local, city, and federal resources at our disposal so we are better prepared to respond to biological threats,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “My bill, the One Health Security Act, is the important step we need to facilitate a more coordinated threat assessment system and response. “One Health” is the simple concept that human health is intrinsically connected to the health of animals, plants, and our environment. A One Health approach allows us to effectively address complex, multidisciplinary health problems — like coronaviruses and Ebola, food and crop diseases, and antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. We must act now to strengthen our defenses and to facilitate a more coordinated response consistent with One Health principles so that the uncontrolled spread of life-threatening diseases will once and for all be a thing of the past.”

"Senator Gillibrand's One Health Security Act is a critical first step in taking a whole-of-government approach in the US to prevent pandemics at the source. We applaud this legislation which advances the One Health approach as it is a definitive and practical step needed by the US to prevent and manage future pandemics like we are experiencing with COVID-19,” said Dr. Chris Walzer, Executive Director of Health at the Wildlife Conservation Society“WCS has been pioneering One Health since 2004 and today we are working in the US and across the globe, through our WildHealthNet program, to train and help governments create the infrastructure and processes that ensure human, wildlife, livestock and environmental health experts are working together. Senator Gillibrand’s One Health Security Act will help ensure the US can better address biothreats and prevent and manage the future spillover of pathogens from animals to humans.”

“A recent headline in the magazine ‘Foreign Policy’ said it very clearly; ‘No Bread, No Peace.’ National security experts need to put food back on the table as a core issue,” said Dr. Charles Platkin, Executive Director of the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center“As a public health and food policy advocate, recognizing the ecological, holistic and collaborative, multisector approach to health is crucial and Senator Gillibrand’s One Health Security Act, realizing that a threat to food security is a threat to national security, brings a required and much-needed approach to combat any and all threats to human health.”

"The National Association of Federal Veterinarians considers the One Health Security Act the most significant piece of legislation among all the pandemic prevention and global health security bills that are out there,” said National Association of Federal Veterinarians Executive Vice President Joseph Annelli. “The significant advantage of this bill is that it provides a coordination mechanism that considers all the current and past related bills. The One Health Security Act establishes an all-of-government and ultimately, all-of-society approach to emerging and pandemic disease identification and response. Through this bill the intersection of human, animal, plant and environmental health or ‘One Health’ concept will finally be operationalized.”

“Across this city NYC Health + Hospitals’ facilities are on the frontlines of existing or emerging infectious disease threats, which is why I’m proud to stand with the Senator today as she announces her One Health Security Act legislation,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals“The legislation will be critical to the health system’s pandemic preparedness work and for the efforts to treat patients who might come through our doors. Bellevue Hospital, where we stand today, has been addressing infectious diseases for over 200 years, and I’m grateful to the Senator for all her work so that we can do it for 200 more.”

“Whether the threat originates with the emergence of a novel zoonotic pathogen, or results from an environmental catastrophe, the One Health Security Act will further enable those of us working on the frontlines of pandemic preparedness to equitably protect, and care for, those patients which are most vulnerable to emerging biological threats,” said Dr. Vikramjit Mukherjee, Director of Bellevue Hospital Center Special Pathogens Program and Co-Principal Investigator for the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center. “The One Health Security Act will empower experts and leaders across the spectrum of health security to leverage a whole-of-government approach to preventing, detecting, and responding to biological threats. This coordinated approach to biodefense has the capacity to save lives – within our communities at large, and among the health care workforce that responds to these special pathogens events.”

  1. One Health Security Council: In accordance with the Apollo program recommendation, a new Deputy National Security Advisor would lead a One Health Security Council within the Executive Office of the President responsible for coordinating whole-of-government One Health Security-related activities.

  2. One Health Security Strategy: The One Health Security Council would develop a strategy that would advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to One Health Security to enable Federal agencies to cooperate more effectively.

  3. One Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness Network: The network would support global efforts to develop a prevention, early detection and warning system for zoonotic and vectorborne disease. It would be managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s One Health Office, in collaboration with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of the Interior.

  4. One Health Security Activities: The One Health Security Council would recommend funding allocation for activities that would be critical to improving our biodefense and ability to defend against natural, human-generated and accidental biological events.

A discussion draft of the bill is available here.

A full list of organizations and experts that have endorsed the One Health Security Act is available here.