Innovative One Health-Disaster Resilience Higher Education in the Republic of the Philippines: Thinking Out of the Box

By Noel L.J. Miranda, DVM, MSc, FellPCVPH The coming together of One Health and Disaster Resilience is premised on the principles described above- that from a broader view of the interconnectedness of the determinants of human health and wellbeing, “One Health” must broadly interrelate within “One Resilience”- where the independent resilience of all elements that impact on human health and wellbeing converge to achieving societal resilience. One Health to One Resilience is about directing Whole-of-Society to systematically achieve "Global Resilience", all in the interest of promoting Humanity's Wellbeing. The University of Makati (UMAK), the Philippines, is pioneering a cutting-edge One Health-Disaster Resilience (OHDR) higher education program aimed at preparing professionals to better face the challenges of ongoing regional and global economic integration and contributing to the overall effort of promoting societal resilience and global security. The OHDR Program keenly takes into consideration the multi-faceted nature of Societal Health and Disaster Resilience- i.e. including general poverty reduction, food security, sanitation/garbage management, slum management, disaster-risk reduction--flooding/ water contamination, various urban hazards (traffic/ unhealthy food vendors/ general insecurity, etc.). The line of studies expects to impart multi-disciplinary knowledge necessary for managing complex systems such as emerging infectious disease prevention and control, and disaster preparedness, mitigation and response, with emphasis on biological disasters in the context of the all-hazards approach. The program focuses on enhancing systems management skills, including policy formulations, strategic planning, good governance, and conducting field investigations, research, training and community services. It is designed to produce new breeds of professionals and civil servants with high-level competencies in One Resilience systems development, implementation and management, relevant to supporting national and local governments’ and community stakeholders’ capacities to reduce the impacts of biological and emerging pandemic threats, and other major high-impact threats/hazards/disturbances. These badly needed community experts should be able to efficiently apply complex-problem solving methodologies and socio-economic principles in a variety of situations and environments at field level, and analytically explain investigative findings and conclusions, and provide recommendations for building societal resilience. The main intent is to support leadership development- i.e. enabling community resilience leaders to be cognizant of real public health and disaster risks and impacts to communities. One Health-Disaster Resilience is therefore based on foreseeing these real-time direct confrontations of people/communities—instituting measures that can support families and the whole-of-society in taking the necessary actions to prevent, mitigate and contend with a range of public health emergencies and disaster impacts. It is about being able to better lead whole-of-community through a One Health to One Resilience approach. The program invites qualified students and professionals representing multi-disciplines, especially national and local civil servants.