Obituary: James Harlan Steele

A post from PRO-med mail
November 11, 2013

Yesterday [10 Nov 2013], we all witnessed the exit of a lion.

Over his 100-year-plus lifespan, James Harlan Steele was a true pioneer in Public Health and the rebirth of One Health. He was tenacious in his quest to enlarge the role of veterinary medicine in public health, emboldened by the conviction that any avenue that can benefit the health and well-being of people leads to a more progressive, rational and fair state of affairs for his community, country, and the world.

Steele set the direction, found the resources, selected and cultivated enough talented people to achieve his dream of One Health, which was manifested as the establishment of vital veterinary public health infrastructure at the state, national, and international levels. He literally built the 1st of many veterinary public health programs in the United States and the world beginning at CDC in 1946.

Dr. Steele was a systems thinker, a strategic analyst, and a magnet for bright, young talented veterinarians, physicians, and other health professionals. He took the idea of One Health and implemented it, building a framework for programs such as rabies control, which could showcase what One Health, 1st named by Steele as Veterinary Public Health, could do.

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