Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Robert Hecht


This paper discusses the impact of zoonotic spillovers on public health and the need for a One Health approach to preventing future pandemics. Zoonotic spillovers occur when pathogens are transmitted from animals to humans, facilitated by anthropogenic land changes, migration or trade, increased human-animal contact, and poor biosafety. However, anthropogenic land use change is the primary driver for zoonotic spillovers. Most emerging infectious diseases in humans are of zoonotic origin, and the impact of these spillovers on public health is significant. The paper emphasizes the need to prevent spillover events for primary pandemic prevention, which requires a coordinated and collaborative approach between the animal, public health, and environmental sectors. The One Health approach involves early detection, response, and public health campaigns to reduce the burden of diseases in animals and human populations. This approach also prioritizes the need to work with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in a culturally sensitive manner to center their traditional ecological knowledge on preventing upstream spillovers and protecting biodiversity. Despite the potential benefits of engaging IPLCs in the One Health approach, challenges exist, and only a few pilot studies have been conducted. The findings suggest that operationalizing a One Health approach has been challenging due to several factors, including an uneven representation of stakeholders, lack of evidence on the benefits of One Health, and difficulties in accessing relevant and accurate data and information. The paper highlights the importance of tangible actions toward operationalizing a One Health approach within the global health governance and funding mechanism. Overall, the paper concludes that a One Health approach with the active participation of IPLCs is crucial for preventing zoonotic spillovers and future pandemics.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2025