AVMA Congressional Science Fellows chosen

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old
Dr. Colonius
Dr. Tristan Colonius
Dr. Hoenig
Dr. Donald E. Hoenig
Dr. Myhre
Dr. Kaylee M. Myhre

In May, the AVMA announced Drs. Tristan Colonius, Donald E. Hoenig, and Kaylee M. Myhre had been selected for the 2012-2013 AVMA Congressional Science Fellowship.

AVMA fellows work alongside congressional staff members and provide science-based expertise on veterinary- and public health–related issues to members of Congress. The one-year fellowship program offers veterinarians the opportunity to see firsthand how federal public policy is made.

“The fellowship is an unparalleled opportunity for veterinarians in all stages of their career to come to Washington, D.C., and help shape public policy that impacts veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, AVMA Governmental Relations Division director.

“The fellows share their scientific knowledge with staffs in congressional offices and all branches of the federal government, and, ultimately, increase the visibility of veterinarians and veterinary medicine in the public policy arena,” Dr. Lutschaunig explained.

Dr. Colonius of Raleigh, N.C., is a 2011 graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. He has worked for the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as well as with the European Commission and New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture.

Additionally, Dr. Colonius has completed externships with the AVMA Governmental Relations and Animal Welfare divisions.

“I am confident the fellowship will be an unsurpassed experience within the interstices of Capitol Hill and will provide the opportunity to connect to a vast array of leaders in public policy,” Dr. Colonius said. “I hope to contribute the unmatched framework of the scientific thought process in addressing legislative issues, as I think any topic can benefit from this critical and objective approach. I feel strongly that effective public policy development must connect its synthesis in the halls of Congress with the pragmatics of implementation and evaluation of outcomes at the field level, and so I hope to gain an insight into the dynamics between these two processes that I will be able to capitalize on in my career.”

Dr. Hoenig of Belfast, Maine, has served as Maine’s state veterinarian since 1986 and as its state public health veterinarian since 2005. The 1978 University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine graduate participated in the eradication of highly pathogenic avian influenza from the Pennsylvania poultry industry in the 1980s and was part of a delegation of U.S. veterinarians who assisted the British government with the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001.

Dr. Hoenig lectured and was the course coordinator in preventive medicine and epidemiology during the early years of Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He is a past president of the U.S. Animal Health Association and recently chaired the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.

“I’m still idealistic—or maybe naive—enough to believe that one person can make a difference,” Dr. Hoenig said. “I’m hoping that my year in D.C. will enable me to use the experience I’ve gained in my career to offer some pragmatism, science, and common sense on some of the animal and public health, food safety, veterinary workforce, and emergency planning issues before Congress. The veterinary profession has a great deal to offer in shaping public policy, and, fortunately, the AVMA has endorsed this concept over the years by funding the fellowship.”

Dr. Myhre of White Bear Lake, Minn., completed her veterinary degree at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. She supplemented her veterinary education with internships at the USDA, World Health Organization, and, most recently, the Institute of Agricultural Technology in Buenos Aires. She has spent most of the time during her internships working on zoonotic diseases and looks forward to a career in veterinary public health.

“I have a deep commitment to the veterinary profession and the advancement of global health care,” Dr. Myhre said. “I am thrilled to be able to use my broad veterinary training to contribute to the development of science-based policy and capacity building that will benefit and promote the health and well-being of humans, animals, and the environment.”

Drs. Colonius, Hoenig, and Myhre will begin their fellowships in August 2012.

For more information on the AVMA Congressional Science Fellowship, visit www.avma.org/fellowship or contact Dotty Gray, associate director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division, at (800) 321-1473, Ext. 3209, or at fellowshipatavma [dot] org (fellowship[at]avma[dot]org).