Skip to main content

Steve Osofsky

Wildlife Veterinarian

Our fundamental goal is to help humanity make more holistic, better-informed decisions, in terms of land- and ocean-use planning, public health policy, and environmental conservation. It's critical that we do this. We are today mining nature's capital instead of living off of the interest it generates, and so we're essentially stealing the future from our children and grandchildren.

Steve's focus is on the conservation of free-ranging wildlife, as well as on the deeply intertwined relationships among environmental stewardship, system resilience, economic development, and human health and well-being. He works on developing and helping to apply science-based landscape scale approaches to conservation, particularly in terms of policy guidance to address challenges at the interface of wildlife, agriculture and other types of land use, and people. Wildlife, livestock, and human diseases will continue to have a significant impact on the development of sustainable land uses, protected areas, transboundary natural resource management, other biodiversity conservation approaches, and of course, livelihood opportunities around the world. Experience at the interface of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health and livelihoods has demonstrated that a One Health approach can build new constituencies for conservation and strengthen existing ones, while mitigating key threats to conservation success.

Dr. Osofsky, the Jay Hyman Professor of Wildlife Health & Health Policy at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, is one of the pioneers of the One Health movement, having led the drafting of the core Manhattan Principles on One World, One Health in 2004. He has developed, launched and managed some of the first major applied One Health programs, including the AHEAD (Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development). Program (launched in South Africa in 2003) and the HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages) Program (launched in 2009), which became the Planetary Health Alliance in 2016. As the only veterinarian serving on The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, he was able to bring his range of practical experiences (from both health and environmental conservation perspectives) to the task of shaping the highly interdisciplinary conceptual approach underpinning the field of Planetary Health. Professor Osofsky previously held senior positions at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), as well as with the Government of Botswana. He was also honored to serve as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Diplomacy Fellow, working as a Biodiversity Program Specialist at the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Steve is shepherding the University's launch of the Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health.

Dr. Osofsky discusses the complex, critical connections that underpin the field of Planetary Health at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Professor Osofsky presents an overview of his work in southern Africa at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. His talk was entitled "Beyond Fences: Policy Options for Wildlife, Livelihoods and Transboundary Animal Disease Management in Southern Africa."