Many faces, one profession

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More than 400 positions exist on AVMA councils, committees, and task forces. For more information about serving on one of these entities, go here, or contact officeevpatavma [dot] org (officeevp[at]avma[dot]org).

Dr. Jessup
Dr. David A. Jessup
Dr. Wolff
Dr. Peregrine L. Wolff
Dr. Driscoll
Dr. Cindy P. Driscoll
Dr. Gilbert
Dr. Robinette A. Gilbert
Dr. Gigstad
Dr. Alfred O. Gigstad III
Dr. Garbe
Dr. Paul L. Garbe


Dr. O'Brien
Dr. Bethany O'Brien
Dr. Kendall
Dr. Thomas R. Kendall
Dr. Rowles
Dr. Craig J. Rowles
Dr. Poppenga
Dr. Robert Poppenga
Dr. Larsen
Dr. R. Scott Larsen

Committee on Environmental Issues

Charge/mission (summary): The committee addresses environmental issues that affect the health of wildlife and other animals, public health, and ecosystem health by helping develop AVMA policies; encouraging science-based, practical solutions; providing information to the membership; and influencing legislation, regulation, public policy, and research efforts.


Dr. David A. Jessup (WSU '76), chair, California Department of Fish and Game, Santa Cruz; representing veterinary ecology
Dr. Peregrine L. Wolff (COR '84), Nevada Department of Wildlife, Reno; representing small ruminant practice
Dr. Cindy P. Driscoll (VMR '87), Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Oxford; representing aquatic medicine
Dr. Robinette A. Gilbert (LSU '92), Eli Lilly and Company, Texarkana, Texas; representing avian medicine
Dr. Alfred O. Gigstad III (KSU '76), Arbor Valley Animal Clinic, Syracuse, Neb.; representing bovine practice
Dr. Paul L. Garbe (IL '77), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; representing the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Bethany O'Brien (UP '98), USDA-APHIS Western Region, Fort Collins, Colo.; representing government service—federal or state agency dealing with environmental issues
Dr. Thomas R. Kendall (PUR '69), Arden Animal Hospital, Sacramento, Calif.; representing small animal medicine
Dr. Craig J. Rowles (ISU '82), Elite Pork, Carroll, Iowa; representing swine practice
Dr. Robert Poppenga (IL '78), California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, Davis; representing veterinary toxicology
Dr. R. Scott Larsen (COL '95), Wildlife Health Center, University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; representing zoo and wildlife medicine

What current project are you most excited about?

Dr. A. David Scarfe, assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said, "The committee currently has chosen three areas on which to focus—environmental health aspects of the one-health initiative, green practices in veterinary medicine, and waste generated from animals and veterinary practices."

A recent meaningful accomplishment:

After being alerted to the Environmental Protection Agency's desire to survey the veterinary profession—and potentially develop regulations concerning the appropriate disposal of unused pharmaceuticals—the CEI began collaborating with other AVMA entities in developing a document that addresses best management practices for the disposal of unused pharmaceuticals. Dr. Scarfe said that preliminary feedback from the EPA suggests this document may alleviate its concerns that the veterinary profession is an important contributor to pharmaceuticals found in natural waters.

How is your entity addressing the profession's pressing issues?

The committee is developing educational sessions on environmental issues for the AVMA Annual Convention and new Web-based information on veterinary internships and other educational programs. Those programs will lead to increased environmental involvement by veterinarians, according to Dr. Scarfe. In addition, the committee is providing input on new Web resources that will provide practical information on waste disposal compliance for AVMA members and veterinary clinics.

How is the entity addressing the strategic or operational goals of the AVMA?

Dr. David A. Jessup, CEI chair, said that without the committee, the AVMA cannot meet its stated purpose to advance the science and art of veterinary medicine, including its relationship to public health, biological science, and agriculture.

"Environmental health and environmental issues are part and parcel to human public health. Environmental sciences—ecology, toxicology—are part and parcel to biological sciences," Dr. Jessup said.

"A major challenge to modern agriculture is the energy required to sustain it, and the immediate gross and long-term environmental impacts of wastes, effluents, gasses, and nutrient redistribution. Public health, biological science, and agriculture—with which the AVMA aspires to have strong relationships—are all linked to, and have as key components, environmental issues."

Environmental health is one of three legs of the stool in the one-health model, he noted, adding that the CEI is the one body within the Association with a full spectrum of expertise as well as the charge to help the AVMA deal with environmental challenges.