Published: May 16, 2007
All graduates of schools of veterinary medicine take an oath promising to "…use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge."
When it comes to utilizing her veterinary degree in the promotion of public health, Jennifer Gordon Wright, DVM, MPH, does an outstanding job of upholding the creed. So outstanding, she is the recipient of the 2007 Dr. Daniel E. Salmon Award.
Each year, since 1984, the award has been presented in recognition of outstanding contributions and notable service in the public's interest by a veterinarian federally employed in any human health, environmental health or animal health discipline. It is hoped that the award will encourage junior veterinarians to continue excellence in their performance and to aspire for public service as a lifelong career.
"Being selected as the 2007 recipient of the Daniel Salmon award is a huge honor—both for myself and for CDC," says Wright. "To have had the opportunity to be involved in the activities and research which led to this recognition is exactly why I chose a career in public health instead of veterinary practice. In veterinary practice, you very much make a difference at the individual level, but in public health you have the opportunity to make a difference on a larger scale."
One such example of that is Wright's work on a study that assessed the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of US veterinarians in regard to the use of personal protective equipment when examining animal patients. Wright adds, "Results of this study have been utilized in developing a set of standard precautions aimed at practicing veterinarians."
When Wright speaks to veterinary students who are interested in careers in public health, she says, she finds it hard to suppress her enthusiasm for her career. "To be honored in this manner is a true testament to the fantastic work we do at CDC and the wonderful people with whom we work. For while this is an 'individual' award, acknowledging each of the different activities since I first came to CDC, the work would certainly have not been possible without the supervision and team work behind each of these accomplishments."
The Salmon award was established to honor the first director of the United States Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Industry in its centennial year—1984. Daniel E. Salmon, DVM, was a world-renowned veterinary medical scientist who pioneered research in bacterial diseases of animals and in immunology.
Salmon's efforts led to the development of killed vaccines. The bacterial genus Salmonella is named in his honor. His work contributed immeasurably to improving the public's health and to disease control efforts in general.
The award is sponsored by the National Association of Federal Veterinarians.