laboratory linkages, global planning, diagnostics, and other features pertaining to the prevention, diagnosis, and detection of zoonoses now deserve urgent attention and should be part of the cornerstone and culture of the evolving animal health framework. Strategic partnerships in human health and animal health will likely be fundamental to the future success of both communities.
Recommendation 1: The nation should establish a high-level, centralized, authoritative, and accountable coordinating mechanism or focal point for engaging and enhancing partnerships among local, state, and federal agencies and the private sector.
A centralized coordinating mechanism or focal point could help ensure flexibility and strong coordination at the federal, state, and local levels; help minimize duplication of effort; and maximize efficiency in both resource allocation and function.
A few examples of possible means to accomplish this mechanism could be through a high-level individual or through a group embedded in an existing office or an interagency alliance. Alternatively, given the overlapping legislative mandates and competition for resource allocations that affect federal agencies and issues of state versus federal jurisdiction and authority, a third approach would be to establish a nongovernmental organization to serve as a central coordinating agency. Such an organization would function like a domestic version of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which arbitrates between governments. Another example of an organization that has some of the properties and function that a central coordinating body should have is the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS), a state-federal cooperative agency whose resources are supported and shared by the wildlife agencies of 15 states and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The SCWDS is a multiple-purpose program that carries out research, performs diagnostics and surveillance of wildlife diseases, and provides training and consultation to wildlife managers, farmers, landowners, veterinarians, physicians, and the agencies tasked with safeguarding animal health.
In making these suggestions, however, the committee wishes to clarify that it was not tasked to analyze all possible mechanisms for implementing Recommendation 1. Furthermore, while there is compelling evidence of a need for improved coordination in prevention, detection, and diagnosis, the committee felt it is premature to recommend a specific systemwide mechanism prior to examining other parts of the animal health framework—that is, surveillance, monitoring, and response recovery. The