The AVMA has selected Drs. Sarah Babcock, Heather Case, and Lloyd Keck as the 2006-2007 AVMA Fellows.
As AVMA Congressional Science Fellows, Drs. Case and Keck will serve as congressional staff in either a representative's or senator's personal office or in a committee office, while Dr. Babcock will be the second AVMA Executive Branch Fellow to work in the Department of Homeland Security's Biological Countermeasures Portfolio.
Dr. Babcock has a law degree and has spent her career bridging the gap between veterinary medicine and law. She currently serves on the board of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association. Dr. Babcock is a 2004 Michigan State graduate.
"The opportunity to serve in the Department of Homeland Security is one that I am happy to accept," Dr. Babcock said. "Veterinarians must play a role in securing this country from zoonotic disease and terrorist agents."
Dr. Case brings disaster preparedness experience to Congress, as she was deployed three times with an AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team to Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Case, who is completing a master's degree in public health, is active in state politics as a board member of the Minnesota VMA. Dr. Case is a 1998 graduate of the University of Minnesota.
"As Katrina showed us, Congress can at times lack understanding of the human-animal bond, something I hope to change during my year in Washington, D.C.," Dr. Case said.
Dr. Keck is a board-certified poultry veterinarian and owner of Keck & Associates Inc., a poultry management and technical services consulting service, as well as president of Avian Performance Standards Inc. He is past president of the Arkansas Poultry Veterinarians Association and a 1982 graduate of Louisiana State University.
"My poultry and business experiences will hopefully help me serve a congressional office," Dr. Keck said. "With avian influenza a major issue, now is an opportune time for a veterinarian to assist in public policy."
AVMA fellowships are designed to help AVMA members garner a better understanding of the governmental process, gain insight into the future of science and the veterinary profession and serve on the front-line of government decision-making. Fellows also have the opportunity to network and meet government leaders, newsmakers, media personalities, and other veterinarians involved in public policy.
"Never before has a veterinarian's scientific perspective been more important in the government process," said Dr. Kent Ames, a 2004-2005 Congressional Science Fellow who worked in the office of Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon. "And never before has there been such an opportunity to make an impact."
The fellowships allow participating AVMA members the opportunity to help develop national policy and write legislation and regulations affecting the veterinary profession. Fellows spend one year in Washington, beginning at the end of August; they receive a stipend of $65,000 plus expenses for reimbursable items. The opportunity to serve in a congressional office or the Department of Homeland Security is made possible by donations from AVMA constituent organizations and members.
Candidates must be AVMA members and United States citizens to qualify. For more information about the program and the specific criteria requirements, or to apply for a Fellowship, contact Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, AVMA Governmental Relations Division program and administrative coordinator, at (800) 321-1473, Ext. 3205, or firstname.lastname@example.org.