Antimicrobials are agents intended to kill or slow the growth of microorganisms like bacteria or fungi. Since the introduction and widespread adoption of antibiotic and antifungal agents, microorganisms that can survive antimicrobials have evolved, and ‘antimicrobial resistance’ (AMR) has emerged as a pressing One Health challenge. As there are a limited number of antibiotics available for use, the same active ingredients are often used in antibiotic products intended for humans, animals, and agriculture. This means AMR emerges from the complex interactions antimicrobial prescribing and use in humans, animals, and the environment. Issues that amplify AMR include the mixing of inadequately treated effluent from human residential, animal industry, and agricultural farm activity. While AMR presents an immediate threat to human and animal health as existing agents lose their effectiveness, it also has serious implications for our economy, and work force productivity. As these vital tools lose their effectiveness our food supply and economic security also face an increasing degree of risk. This is why a One Health approach, encompassing expertise and decision-making in all sectors impacted by antibiotic use is required.
One Health at UCalgary is host to the AMR - One Health Consortium, which is a pan-Alberta collaborative platform focused on antimicrobial use and resistance research, innovation, policy, training, outreach, and commercialization. The AMR – One Health Consortium uses a transdisciplinary, multisectoral One Health approach to promote self-sustaining clinical, epidemiologic, basic and social sciences, and translational research on AMR in Alberta that will be scalable to all of Canada and beyond.