Dr. Linda K. Tollefson, deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, was promoted to assistant surgeon general (rear admiral) at the beginning of August.
Rear Admiral Linda K. Tollefson
As CVM deputy director, Rear Adm. Tollefson is in charge of all public health programs, international activities, and coordination of projects under the National Food Safety Initiative at the FDA-CVM.
"This [promotion] represents a highlight of my career, and I'm delighted to be recognized as a leader among officers who are true guardians of public health," Rear Adm. Tollefson said.
"My promotion also recognizes the value that veterinarians bring to public health and food safety issues. I plan to highlight the need for more veterinarians to enter this field and help address the broad scope of food safety problems."
Before becoming CVM deputy director, she directed the center's Office of Surveillance and Compliance. Rear Adm. Tollefson is one of the founders of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria, established in 1996 as a collaboration among several federal agencies in response to concerns associated with the approval for use in food animal of antibiotics important for human medical therapy.
Prior to her involvement with the CVM in 1993, Rear Adm. Tollefson was chief of the epidemiology branch in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, working with foodborne disease, chemical contamination, surveillance, and risk assessment. While chief of the branch, she served as co-chair of the center's Health Hazard Evaluation Board.
Rear Adm. Tollefson earned her DVM degree in 1980 from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Public Health degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1984, with special training in epidemiology and biostatistics.
She has received many public health service honors, including the Meritorious Service and the Outstanding Service awards, and Commendation Medals.
She is president-elect of the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians.