Public health and safety innovations come from veterinary community

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

In June, the 18th annual Secretary of Health and Human Services Awards Ceremony for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention were held in Washington. The program was founded on a strong collaborative effort among the DHHS, the Health Resources and Services Administration of DHHS, and the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions.

Award winners Davis and Cuthriell
Award winners Dr. Pat Davis and Delila Cuthriell, PharmD

The awards were presented by Claude Earl Fox, MD, administrator, HRSA; Randolph F. Wykoff, deputy assistant secretary for health (disease prevention and health promotion), DHHS; and Donna E. Shalala, PhD, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

At last year's award ceremony, veterinary students placed in the top categories (see JAVMA Oct 1, 1999), and this year they proved again that their ideas are harbingers for the future of good health.

Eileen McHugh (AUB '01) took second place in the single discipline awards with "Four legs or two: up front with you." McHugh's objective is to educate the public on the risks involved, particularly to animals and children, with travel in cargo areas of pickup trucks. She asserted that more than 200 people die each year (half of them are under the age of 18) as a direct result of falls from cargo areas of pickup trucks. She also cites a recent survey that reported 71 percent of veterinarians treated dogs for injuries sustained from jumping or falling from cargo areas of pickup trucks. That figure doesn't take into account those dogs that were killed instantly.

In the interdisciplinary awards, designed to bring students from various disciplines together to use their combined expertise to solve a problem, Dr. Pat Davis (AUB '00), and Delila Cuthriell, Pharm D, graduate of Auburn University School of Pharmacy, won third place for "The letter in the litter: a public information pamphlet to reduce the incidence of Toxoplasma gondii in pregnant women and their children." The project seeks to educate pregnant women and others of childbearing age about toxoplasmosis. They propose that information pamphlets be distributed in bags of cat litter and with prenatal vitamin prescriptions.

Dr. Davis and Cuthriell's project won first place in a separate competition given by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc for the three best papers promoting innovations in public health. Second place in the Hill's competition went to Ann Davidson (LSU '01) for "Threat of bioterrorism: justification for veterinary preparedness." Amy Jean Nugent, (VMR '01) and Jonathan Kula, Medical College of Virginia, picked up third place with "Integrating the human-animal bond with exercise for the independent elderly."