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 AVMA Announces Its 2013-2014 Congressional Fellows

 The fellows will advise federal legislators on the development of public policy that impacts veterinary medicine and public health  

(Washington, D.C.) May 2, 2013—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased to announce three veterinarians have been selected to participate in its 2013-2014 AVMA Fellowship Program in Washington, D.C. Drs. Eric Deeble from Philadelphia, Pa., Nathanial Tablante from Elkridge, Md., and Kate Varela from Medford, N.Y. will serve for one year, starting this August, as scientific advisors to members of Congress where they will use their background to shape key legislation that affects the veterinary profession and the health and safety of the nation.   

“AVMA’s fellowship program is an excellent opportunity for veterinarians to break away from their everyday lives, learn and apply new skills, network with people in all branches of the federal government, and truly make a difference in the field of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division. “We always encourage AVMA members to participate in the legislative process, but the fellows will truly learn firsthand the amount of work and scientific knowledge that is needed to craft and pass legislation. We applaud these emerging leaders for committing their time to this important program and look forward to working with them.”  

As part of the fellowship program, the fellows will serve for one year—running August 2013 until early August 2014—in a congressional office where they will advise policymakers on the development of legislation that will impact the veterinary profession on issues like food safety, public health and animal welfare. The fellows interview with congressional offices to receive their year-long placements and, once placed, they support the activities of that office as full-time staff. The fellows are not AVMA employees or lobbyists.  

Drs. Deeble, Tablante and Varela were selected out of 30 applicants for the fellowship program after completing a three-phased, competitive selection process which started in February. AVMA’s Fellowship Selection Committee, chaired by AVMA Immediate Past President Dr. René Carlson and including Dr. Gussie Tessier, AVMA’s assistant editor in the Publications Division, and former AVMA congressional fellow Dr. Terry Kane, announced the fellows after a round of interviews on April 13.   

Dr. Deeble graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and is 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. Tablante graduated from University of the Philippines and is currently an Associate Professor/Extension Poultry Veterinarian at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He has 24 years of experience in poultry health management, epidemiology, and biosecurity, and has authored and co-authored numerous articles and educational materials on poultry health, biosecurity, and disease prevention.  

Dr. Varela graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and works at a small animal practice in the Chicago area. She is completing a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration with a global health concentration and is interested in agricultural policy development.   

AVMA’s fellowship program is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which works to place qualified, scientific experts in congressional offices where there is a need. To date, more than 50 veterinarians have participated in AVMA’s Fellowship program. ​

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