In The Spotlight

From the Dean The College of Veterinary Medicine: Where Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science Become One Health

I admired the above marketing tagline each time it was displayed near the Neville Arena scoreboard during home basketball games of the 2023-24 season. I couldn’t help but think that the college’s visionary founding dean and soldier of One Health — Dr. Charles Allen Cary — would have nodded in agreement.

In 1892, the first year that Dr. Cary joined the Auburn faculty as a professor of veterinary science, the health of Alabama’s people was in peril. The combined effects of diseases like Texas Tick Fever, tuberculosis, brucellosis, pellagra and hookworm infestation were robbing the inhabitants of the southern United States of any hope for prosperity. Auburn University President William LeRoy Broun, himself a visionary leader, knew that hiring an ambitious veterinarian to begin interrupting the cycle of each of these diseases was key to the state’s improvement in public health. Scientific advances in Europe and North America, particularly related to the causes of infectious and nutritional diseases shared by animals and people, had begun to reveal clues to disease interdiction: tick elimination, food hygiene, milk pasteurization, diagnostic testing and dietary supplementation.

Sixty-eight years later, Dr. Calvin Schwabe, a 1954 graduate of our college, began to emerge as the father of veterinary epidemiology. Dr. Schwabe established a department of epidemiology at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (the first department of its kind) and
has been credited with coining the phrase “One Medicine.” Schwabe was the author of the seminal

textbook, Veterinary Medicine and Human Health, and a contributor to academic advancements in the study of parasitic zoonoses, tropical diseases and livestock health.

In 1992, during the centennial celebration of veterinary medicine at Auburn, Dr. Schwabe presented a lecture on Dr. Cary’s contributions to human health through veterinary medicine. Schwabe noted of Cary, “He was one of a scant handful or so of idealistic and hardworking men who — under the most difficult circumstances, including widespread public derision — saw clearly from the onset that veterinary science’s total impact upon society could make it a powerful economic and human health force for public betterment.”

This fall, the College of Veterinary Medicine will take a major step in becoming a powerful force in animal health, human health and public betterment with the addition of a new undergraduate baccalaureate degree program named Public and One Health. This program will incorporate expertise from
eight colleges on the Auburn University campus and integrate ongoing research in biomedical, environmental and agricultural sciences. The result of this effort will be an innovative new program for undergraduate students that explores health at a societal level — a perspective that reunites us with the origins of veterinary medicine at Auburn University 132 years ago.

War Eagle!

Dean Johnson's Signature

Dean Calvin Johnson '86

Dean Johnson Dean Johnson

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