Smithsonian One Health

Goal One of the Smithsonian’s Strategic Plan is to Be One Smithsonian.
This means that we find ways to work together as One Smithsonian to amplify the power of the stories we tell, increasing our reach and impact. The Smithsonian views its research, exhibitions, educational programming and spaces as an Institution-wide portfolio to be deployed strategically.

One Health represents one of these strategic initiatives. Check out some of its activities:

The goal of this program is to study and protect the health of wildlife and humans by illuminating the interconnectedness of life using a transdisciplinary approach of science, culture, and education that translates to real-world impact. How is this done?
1) Smithsonian research occurs across 140 countries and international projects (e.g., Global Health Program, Marine Global Earth Observatories, Forest Global Earth Observatories).
2) Smithsonian health-related research and collections span an incredible range of both biological samples and living collection, as well as historical and cultural artifacts.
3) Findings are disseminated via exhibitions, public programs and digital assets across many spaces and platforms.

Electron microscope image of an oyster.

A larval Crassostrea virginica oyster as viewed with an electron microscope is part of the ocean acidification research project.

The Global Health Program strives to improve public health and the health and conservation of wildlife species around the world. Three foci guide this work: capacity building and training; emerging infectious disease research; and wildlife health.

Smithsonian researcher with a rhinoceros

Smithsonian veterinary research fellow Dr. Maureen Wanjiku Kamau is leading a study on wild eastern black rhinos in Kenya. Her team is using poop to learn more about rhino reproduction.

The Smithsonian Science Education Center has developed a guide to help communities understand the science of the virus that causes Covid-19, and other viruses like it. The resource also addresses behavior and culture.

With this guide, you discuss how people feel about the virus. You investigate the science of this virus. You explore public health measures, which are things that are happening in your community or may happen soon to keep COVID-19 from spreading. You are inspired to take action to support health in your community.

Free to download and share

This 4,250-square-foot exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History invites visitors to join epidemiologists, veterinarians, public health workers, and citizens as they rush to identify and respond to infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola virus, influenza, Zika virus, and others.

Also available as a Do-It-Yourself exhibit that Affiliates can bring to their own sites.

A giant replica of a mosquito that carries viruses.

A giant replica of an Aedes mosquito, the type responsible for carrying Zika virus.

How can Affiliates take advantage of the work of One Health?

How is your organization dealing with visitor compliance to state and local guidelines during the pandemic?

At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, scientists have adapted an animal behavior app to track human behaviors throughout the Zoo. Using observation and data collection at key locations throughout the site, they are able to discern patterns of where mask usage and social distancing are likely to lapse. Knowing which audiences and times of days this occurs helps Zoo staff design the signage and other creative solutions to increase compliance levels in a visitor-centered, friendly way.

The app is free! Contact Smithsonian staff on this page about their findings and solutions to visitor compliance, and the other ways Affiliates may tap into the research and programming of One Health.

Connect with Us

Brian Coyle
Behavioral Ecologist

Katrina Lohan
Marine Disease Ecologist
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Carly Muletz Wolz
Molecular Microbial Ecologist
National Zoological Park

James Hassell
Epidemiologist and Wildlife Veterinarian
National Zoological Park

Pierre Comizzoli
Research Biologist, Center for Species Survival
National Zoological Park

Smithsonian Zoo researchers with a baby panda.