Careers at CDC
It should come as no surprise that a particular job series figures prominently in certain government agencies. The Department of Justice, for example, probably employs more lawyers, the Government Accounting Office more CPAs, and CDC more physicians. It might come as a surprise, however, to learn that CDC also employs quite a few veterinarians–83 at last count.
CDC Veterinarians work in a wide range of areas like bioterrorism, environmental health, food safety, and viral and bacterial diseases. Some are even assigned to posts overseas like in China or Zimbabwe.
"We are physicians for many species," said Hugh Mainzer, MS, DVM, CDC′s veterinary liaison officer to the American Veterinary Medical Association′s House of Delegates. "Many of us have clinical backgrounds as well as the core post-graduate ′toolkit′ provided by practical public health knowledge and experiences, so we are good at problem solving and translating medicine to community health interventions."
In fact, the unique contributions of veterinarians have been redefined by The World Health Organization (WHO) as "the sum of all contributions to the physical, mental, and social well being of humans through an understanding and application of veterinary science."
Due to an increase of zoonotic diseases world-wide, veterinarians have played an increasingly critical and diverse role at CDC and in public health in the past several years.
"With SARS, monkeypox, West Nile virus, [and] avian influenza messages in the media every day, the public becomes more aware of how human and animal health are linked," said Nina Marano, DVM, MPH, associate director for Veterinary Medicine and Public Health at NCID. "The veterinarians at CDC, with their unique training and experience, are proud to be able to contribute to CDC's mission of protecting public health."
According to Mainzer, "the future requirements of the public health infrastructure are great and veterinarians are the ideal clinically-trained professionals to answer the call.
"I believe," he said, "and profess that we can contribute a large and enthusiastic [. . .] pool of highly motivated doctors dedicated to protect and improve the health of our country and to assist the needs of our neighbors around the world."
Heather Bair, DVM, MS
Health Educator, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases/ Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch/ FoodNet and NARMS Unit, NCID
Health educator Heather Bair is answering the call. During her senior epi-elective experience in parasitic diseases, she had the opportunity to work on the website, "Healthy Pets Healthy People." She enjoyed it so much, she decided two things: "I needed a career that would combine my veterinary degree, creativity, and love of writing," she said, "and I wanted to come back to CDC."
In 2003, Bair was offered a job in Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases.
"I have been truly blessed during my time here," she said. "My duties have included everything from Web design to coordinating the NCID Zoonoses Working Group and writing health education materials for outbreaks. From my experience, I believe veterinarians are extremely important to CDC. One doesn′t usually think of veterinarians in health education, but I believe with our backgrounds [. . .] we have the opportunity to make a huge impact in public health."
CPT Peter Bloland, DVM, MPVM
Chief, Malaria Case Management Unit, NCID
Captain Peter Bloland first came to CDC as part of the EIS cohort of 1989. He spent his EIS years with the Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, NCID, and has been there ever since.
"Although I′d briefly been in private practice prior to coming to CDC, the opportunity to become actively engaged in epidemiology–especially in relation to global health concerns in developing countries–was particularly attractive and exciting.
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