The Department of Homeland Security in April approved formation of Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-5. This new VMAT replaces VMAT-4, which the AVMA disbanded in February when a new team commander could not be found.
Additionally, Dr. Patrice N. Klein was named team commander of VMAT-2, which is based in Maryland. Dr. Klein is a senior staff regulatory veterinarian with the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Her notable achievements include chairing the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Decontamination Inter-agency Working Group and deployment to Virginia as part of the government's response to the avian influenza outbreak in 2002.
Dr. Klein is also board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and American College of Poultry Veterinarians.
The AVMA supported creating a fifth VMAT for more than a year, but the Homeland Security Department had placed a moratorium on commissioning all new teams.
Each member of VMAT-4 has been invited to submit a request to transfer to another VMAT. The AVMA has already received several requests from former VMAT-4 members to transfer to VMAT-5, based in Minnesota.
The VMAT-5 roster includes team commander, Dr. Gary Goemann, and staff active in the National Disaster Medical System since the early 1990s. The NDMS is now a section of the Homeland Security Department.
The AVMA noted the death of Beth Henricson, PhD, administrative officer of VMAT-2. Dr. Henricson worked for the Virginia Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
In a letter to Dr. Henricson's husband, Larry Henricson, AVMA Executive Vice President Bruce W. Little wrote: "Beth was an inspiration to us all. She epitomized the hardworking, caring, and dedicated nature of the veterinary profession."