Sens. Tina Smith, Todd Young Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Shore up Public Health Emergency Prevention & Response

U.S. Senator Tina Smith and Todd Young (R-Ind.) have introduced their bipartisan Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act, which would improve public health preparedness by ensuring federal agencies advance a “One Health” approach—the idea that human and animal health are linked, and that they should be studied together to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks.

The bill would improve coordination among those studying animal and human health by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Agriculture Department (USDA) to adopt a One Health framework with other agencies.

“Minnesota was hit by an avian flu outbreak a few years back, and I recently sat down with Minnesotans in Willmar to talk about how we can keep working to prevent future outbreaks because they take a real toll on families and the economy,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “I pushed adopting a ‘one health’ approach while I served as Lieutenant Governor, and now I’m continuing that work in the Senate. We need to recognize the connection between human, animal and environmental health so preparedness efforts meet the needs of all people, all ages, and all communities.”

“Many Hoosiers can still remember the impacts the avian flu outbreak had on communities across Indiana. To protect the health of animals, our farm economy, our families, and the environment, we must take vigorous steps to ensure we are prepared in prevention and response for the next disease outbreak,” said Senator Young. “This legislation is centered around the concept that human health and animal health are linked, and to prepare for future health crises we must better coordinate between federal agencies to understand that connection.”   

Through the Advancing Emergency Preparedness One Health Act, the One Health framework would:

·        Advance workforce development related to preventing and responding to disease outbreaks in animals and humans;

·        Improve coordination between federal agencies studying human, animal health, and the environment;

·        And foster understanding of the connections between human, animal, and environmental health.

You can read more about the bill here.