AVMA GRD adds three assistant directors, PAC/grassroots coordinator

New staff bring plurality of talents to bear on legislative process
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Three veterinarians with backgrounds as diverse as biomedical ethics, business, and law have joined the AVMA Governmental Relations Division staff in Washington, D.C. The three new assistant directors are Drs. Ray Stock, Mark Lutschaunig, and Gerald Rushin.

Also joining the GRD staff, as Political Action Committee/grassroots coordinator, is Tim Foltyn.

GRD Director Michael Chaddock is pleased with the staff additions. "They bring such a diverse background of experience from years of private practice, business management, industrial veterinary medicine, federal government work, and Congressional Science Fellowship experience," Dr. Chaddock said about the new assistant directors.

"Our new AVMAPAC/grassroots coordinator brings with him an excellent background of experience and responsibility for PAC and grassroots administration," Dr. Chaddock added.

Dr. Stock started working at the GRD Aug. 18. He received a VMD degree and master's of bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania. For several years, Dr. Stock was a partner at a small animal hospital in Bethlehem, Pa.

Dr. Stock recently completed an AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellowship in the office of Pennsylvania Rep. John E. Peterson. While with the congressman, Dr. Stock monitored legislation and advised Rep. Peterson on bills relating to agriculture, science and technology, telecommunications, and veterans affairs.

For the GRD, Dr. Stock is handling congressional and regulatory issues pertaining to small businesses, taxes and veterinary economics, insurance, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"My new position at the GRD will allow me to combine the skills I acquired as an AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellow with my prior life experiences as a practitioner, animal hospital owner, and active volunteer in organized veterinary medicine," Dr. Stock said.

"Hopefully," he continued, "this sincere interest in the well-being of veterinarians at all stages of their careers will translate effectively in my interactions with senators, representatives, and their staff members."

Dr. Lutschaunig began at the GRD Sept. 2. He holds a VMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from DeSales University. Dr. Lutschaunig was in clinical practice for four years in New Jersey and Virginia before joining ALPO Petfoods as manager of its animal nutrition research center.

Prior to joining the GRD, Dr. Lutschaunig spent the past six years as manager of professional communications at the Nestle Purina PetCare Company in St. Louis.

Dr. Lutschaunig is focusing on animal welfare and human-animal bond legislation for the GRD, as well as matters pertaining to aquaculture, the environment, pesticides, zoo animals, and wildlife.

"I am very excited about joining the GRD team and look forward to working on legislative issues that affect the veterinary profession," Dr. Lutschaunig said. "As we establish our new team in Washington, we want the AVMA to be the authority that legislative and regulatory bodies can go to for expert information on animal health and welfare."

Dr. Rushin started work at the GRD Sept. 22. After receiving his DVM degree from Michigan State University, Dr. Rushin went on to simultaneously pursue MBA and JD degrees from the University of Akron in Ohio. He anticipates graduating in December 2003.

For five years, Dr. Rushin was a veterinary medical officer in the Veterinary Services section of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Before the AVMA, he worked at a Banfield Wellness Clinic in Ohio while clerking at the Akron Municipal Court for Summit County where he was also a small claims court mediator.

At the GRD, Dr. Rushin is addressing matters relating to homeland security, emergency response, food safety, pharmaceuticals, biologics, public health, USDA APHIS and Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Food and Drug Administration.

"As a veterinarian, I feel great to be able to work with the legislative process and to work on issues that profoundly affect our profession," Dr. Rushin said.

Tim Foltyn started work as the Political Action Committee/grassroots coordinator Oct. 2. Foltyn earned a BA degree in political science with a minor in business and history from Mount Saint Mary's College in Maryland.

Foltyn was the public policy fundraising/APAC manager for the American Society of Association Executives before joining the AVMA.

"I can tell that every AVMA employee is deeply motivated to advancing the veterinary profession in their own various ways," Foltyn said. "I share in that strong motivation through my goals to work with volunteer members to grow the AVMAPAC and activate the Congressional Action Network."