Up to three veterinarians will be selected to receive the 2003-2004 AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellowship to serve a year as consultants, researchers, and scientific resources on the staffs of members of Congress or congressional committees in Washington, D.C. With donations from state and allied veterinary organizations, the AVMA, and other donors, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation offers each fellow a $50,000 stipend for the year.
The 2002-2003 fellows—Drs. Charles Hendrix, Ray Stock, and Ric Zappala—arrived in the capital during the last week of August to attend an orientation program hosted jointly by the AVMA and the Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions. The fellows then participated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science orientation program at the beginning of September. The AAAS coordinates fellows from more than 35 participating scientific organizations, including the AVMA.
Following these intense orientation programs, the fellows began contacting and interviewing with congressional offices. This allows fellows to find offices in need of advisers for issues that match their personal interests and experiences.
Dr. Hendrix chose a placement with New York Rep. Felix Grucci, who serves on the House Science and Small Business committees. The Plum Island Animal Disease Center is part of Grucci's district. Dr. Stock found a placement in the office of Pennsylvania Rep. John Peterson. Peterson serves on the House Appropriations and Resources committees. Dr. Zappala accepted a placement with California Rep. Howard Berman. Berman serves on the House International Relations and Judiciary committees and is the ranking member on the House Standards of Official Conduct Committee.
Fellows provide scientific expertise to the congressional offices in which they serve, while learning about the legislative process and the creation of public policy. They may be called on to address a range of issues such as food safety, animal welfare, antimicrobial resistance, biomedical research, bioterrorism, education, new and re-emerging disease threats, environmental regulations, small business taxes, and workplace safety.
Since 1988, the AVMA/AVMF Congressional Fellowship Program has placed 30 veterinarians in one-year fellowships with the U.S. Congress. The program has heightened the awareness and enhanced the reputation of the veterinary profession on Capitol Hill and throughout Washington, D.C.
Individuals interested in applying for the 2003-2004 fellowship must submit completed applications to the AVMA Governmental Relations Division office by Jan. 15, 2003. A complete application for the fellowship must include a letter of intent; a curriculum vitae; a letter of support from the applicant's local, state, allied, or specialty veterinary medical organization; two letters of support from professional colleagues; and a personal statement of no more than 750 words that outlines the candidate's qualifications, commitment to veterinary medicine, and reasons for pursuing the fellowship.
All applicants must be U.S. citizens and AVMA members. Send applications to Congressional Science Fellowship, AVMA-GRD, Attn: Ms. April Demert, 1101 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20005-3521.
For additional information, contact Dr. Dean Goeldner or April Demert at the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, (800) 321-1473 Exts. 3208 and 3205, respectively; dgoeldneravma [dot] org or ademertavma [dot] org.