Federal veterinarians launch their Vet2011 events

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Department of Agriculture veterinarians welcomed one of their former chief veterinary officers, AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven, back to Washington, D.C., Feb. 4 to help kick off their celebration of the veterinary profession's 250th anniversary.

Dr. DeHaven keynoted the USDA's Vet2011 opening ceremony. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is the largest federal employer of veterinarians in the U.S., followed by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Attending or conferencing in were about 300 people, including FSIS and APHIS veterinarians, Capitol Hill staffers, and agriculture and industry representatives.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Ron DeHaven

"For me it is a homecoming," said Dr. DeHaven, who served as APHIS administrator from 2004-2007. Fellow speakers were Elisabeth Hagen, MD, undersecretary for food safety; Dr. John Clifford, APHIS chief veterinary officer; and Dr. William James, FSIS chief public health veterinarian.

The FSIS and APHIS have plans to hold several events this year focused on veterinarians' contributions to public health. The FSIS has built a special exhibit and is using the Vet2011 concept to promote its veterinarian recruitment efforts. The agency's Vet2011 website is fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/Vet2011.

"I can't thank FSIS enough for hosting this kickoff for government veterinarians," Dr. DeHaven said. "We need to talk to the general public and not just ourselves about veterinarians' contributions to animal health and public health, and give the public a better understanding of the roles of veterinarians in these areas."