June 01, 2001


 Former AVMA/AVMF fellows land influential assignments

Posted May 15, 2001 

Dr. Joe Wells
Dr. Joe "Chip" Wells

Wells works in risk assessment office
A former AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellow is using his experiences in the Senate to help the Office of Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis review important USDA policies.

The office is required by the Congress to review each new USDA regulation that would have an economic effect of $2 million or more. As a public health scientist, Dr. Joe "Chip" Wells—a 1998-1999 fellow—assists the office in evaluating food safety and animal health policies. Since accepting the post in September, he has worked on issues related to classic swine fever, Listeria, and scrapie, among others.

Dr. Wells said many things he learned from his fellowship in the office of Sen Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill, are proving useful in his new position.

"I'm bringing a set of knowledge and skills that I acquired during my fellowship," he said. "Part of that is understanding the political process and the decision-making that goes on in Congress."

This comprehension may help him in future endeavors as well. Dr. Wells' position is temporary, funded through September. There is a chance it will be continued, but no matter what happens, he plans to stay in the government and regulatory arena.

"Politics, veterinary medicine, and public health are the things I'm interested in, and I'll be doing something related," he said.

Becker to speak to Swiss scientists
A former AVMA/AVMF Congressional Fellow will take her veterinary knowledge to Switzerland later this month in an effort to help scientists there understand how the United States uses science to make public policy.

Dr. Karen M. Becker, an AVMF fellow in 1993, has been selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the science attaché for the Swiss embassy in Washington, DC, as one of nine former science and technology fellows to participate in a forum titled "The Interface of Science and Government in the US: Case Histories."

Dr. Becker now works in the Office of International and Refugee Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. She will speak to Swiss scientists about global surveillance programs and issues that impact global human and animal health, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, foot-and-mouth disease, and antimicrobial resistance.

Following the June 18 forum in Bern, the former fellows will tour Swiss science facilities and institutions.

Dr. Becker said the inclusion of a veterinarian in this group speaks volumes about all governments' need for veterinary expertise in solving public health problems.

"It's a very good time to be a veterinarian," she said.

Dr. Elizabeth Parker
Dr. Elizabeth Parker

Parker to work for House Agriculture Committee
A former AVMA/AVMF Congressional Fellow has accepted a permanent position with the majority staff of the House Agriculture Committee.

Dr. Elizabeth Parker, who worked with the minority staff of the committee during her 1999-2000 fellowship, began her new job as a member of the professional staff at the end of February.

"It's a great opportunity for veterinarians to get involved," she said. "It's a great place to be—a lot of work, but also the opportunity to do some good things."

Dr. Parker said her fellowship experience gave her the connections and experience she needed to obtain and to succeed in her position. AVMF fellowships allow veterinarians to "learn the ropes, meet people you need to know, and find out what you're supposed to be doing," she said.

During her year with the minority staff, Dr. Parker worked on issues such as antimicrobial resistance, crop insurance, and agriculture funding. Her fellowship was extended through November 2000 because of her outstanding work. In her new position, she will work on similar issues, including those surrounding fruits, vegetables, and agricultural marketing.