JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - On April 23, Public Health Activity - Fort Lewis hosted a quarterly Washington state zoonotic disease meeting at its Joint Base Lewis-McChord headquarters location. The meeting is a platform for ensuring relationship building, ongoing collaboration and communication among local, state and federal agencies.

Designees from multiple state and local government offices participated in the meeting that included Washington State's Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Fish and Wildlife, the University of Washington, the Washington State University, the Washington State Office of the Governor and Public Health for the City of Seattle and King County. Federal government agencies who participated include the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Army - JBLM and the FBI.

"As representatives of the Department of Defense, PHA-FL maintains existing relationships while building new ones through the quarterly zoonosis meetings," said Lt. Col. Nic Cabano, commander, PHA-FL. "Each agency's efforts increase unity within the zoonotic disease community and naturally increases information sharing," added Cabano.

Using an egalitarian approach, in an informal setting, each agency takes a turn hosting the quarterly meeting. This provides a common ground to discuss past, ongoing and future issues and events.

"We strive to collaborate on public health educational efforts, joint communication efforts, emergency management goals, and cross-species disease surveillance and control," said Maj. Katheryn Hanson, Veterinary Corps executive officer, PHA-FL. "A variety of topics surrounding zoonotic disease surveillance, epidemiology and One Health initiatives were discussed during the most recent meeting," Hanson added.

The public health advocates and professionals have been meeting since January 2016 and are committed to improving the lives of Washington's humans and animals.