Posted Dec. 18, 2013
In late October 2013, the AVMA announced that its three 2013-2014 Congressional Science Fellows had accepted appointments in the offices of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia, and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
During their yearlong assignments, the fellows will use their scientific expertise and training in veterinary medicine to advise their respective members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, including agriculture, animal health and welfare, appropriations, food safety, biosecurity, and public health.
“The AVMA fellowship program is another way that veterinary medicine can have an impact on legislation that determines the future of animal health and welfare and public health in our nation,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division. “By using science to dictate policy, and not the other way around, our fellows can ensure that only common-sense legislation moves forward for the health and welfare of animals and the public.”
Dr. Eric Deeble of Philadelphia will concentrate on food safety and animal agriculture issues in Sen. Gillibrand’s office. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and a former AVMA GRD extern. He has worked internationally in China, Africa, and the Near East examining issues of food animal production in low-resource communities, animal transport, and international market development.
Dr. Nathaniel Tablante of Elkridge, Md., will concentrate on an agriculture portfolio, with a focus on poultry issues, in Rep. Bishop’s office. He is a 1976 graduate of the University of the Philippines and an associate professor and extension poultry veterinarian at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Tablante has more than 20 years’ experience in poultry health management, epidemiology, and biosecurity, and has authored and co-authored many articles and educational materials on these topics.
Dr. Kate Varela of Medford, N.Y., will concentrate on public health, conservation, climate, and education in Sen. Durbin’s office. She is a 2012 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and most recently worked at a small animal practice near Chicago. Dr. Varela is completing a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration with a concentration in global health and is interested in agricultural policy development.
The fellows were selected in April 2013 from 30 applicants who completed a three-phase, competitive selection process. They will serve until August 2014 as full-time employees with their members of Congress, supporting the needs and activities of their respective congressional offices. They are not AVMA employees or lobbyists.
The AVMA Congressional Science Fellowship program receives funding from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which works to place scientists in congressional offices where there is a need.
To date, more than 50 veterinarians have participated in AVMA’s fellowship program.