CDC devotes a day to veterinary students

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently gave about 250 veterinary students a glimpse of career opportunities in public health—and a taste of the CDC's mission.

Dr. Nina Marano, associate director for veterinary public health in the Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, opened the first-ever Day at CDC for Veterinary Students by providing an overview of veterinary public health at the CDC.

Dr. Henry E. Childers, AVMA president, and Dr. Andrew Maccabe, associate executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, talked to the students about the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act. The bill would create a competitive grants program for expanding existing veterinary colleges to train more veterinarians in food safety, food security, emerging infectious diseases, new zoonoses, and agro- and bioterrorism.

Dr. Lonnie King, former director of the CDC Office of Strategy and Innovation, discussed "The Worldwide Spread of Zoonotic Agents." He quoted the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in referring to the increase in zoonoses as a "microbial perfect storm," with the convergence of the increase in animal domestication and the increase in immunocompromised humans.

Dr. Jennifer Wright spoke about careers in public health. Science-in-action topics included responding to Hurricane Katrina, by Dr. Marta Guerra; outbreaks of brucellosis, by Dr. Diane Gross; Nipah virus in Bangladesh, by Joel Montgomery, PhD; tracing an outbreak of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus to hamsters, by Brian Amman, PhD; outbreaks of Escherichia coli at fairs, by Dr. John Dunn; and characterization of the virus that caused the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, by Terrence Tumpey, PhD. Exhibitors also presented information about disease control and prevention programs at the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.

The day concluded with case studies, a career Q&A, and a tabletop exercise on a mock disease outbreak from foods at the previous evening's reception.

Event sponsors included the AVMA, AAVMC, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, CDC Foundation, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, American Association of Public Health Veterinarians, Merial, and Pfizer.