Roth elected to National Academy of Medicine

Iowa State professor has spent decades researching animal diseases
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Dr. James Roth, a distinguished professor at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine for his research of the immunology of infectious diseases of livestock and management of foreign animal disease outbreaks.

Election to the prestigious academy, formerly the Institute of Medicine, is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. The organization works with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.

The Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, Dr. Roth is the first of Iowa State’s veterinary college faculty granted membership in the organization. He is the only U.S. veterinarian among the 79 professionals inducted into the academy this year, according to the academy’s Oct. 17 announcement.

“I am especially proud of receiving this recognition after having received all of my education and spending my entire career in Iowa,” he said. “I benefitted from being part of an excellent land-grant institution, a college of veterinary medicine with a strong tradition of excellence in infectious diseases of food animals, and the opportunity to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Centers for Animal Health in Ames.”

Dr. James Roth

New members of the academy are elected by active members through a selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. The newly elected members raise the academy’s active membership to 1,947 and the number of international members to 146.

“These newly elected members are outstanding professionals who care deeply about advancing health and health care in the U.S. and globally,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau. “Their expertise will help our organization address pressing health challenges and improve health, science, and medicine for the benefit of us all.”

In addition to his professorship, Dr. Roth oversees Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health and the Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics. He has testified before Congress on agroterrorism and foreign animal disease preparedness and served on a number of advisory panels and committees for the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences.

Dr. Roth received a DVM degree from Iowa State in 1975 and a doctorate in veterinary microbiology four years later. He spent two years practicing veterinary medicine before returning to Iowa State as a faculty member in 1977.

After 9/11, Dr. Roth established the Center for Food Security and Public Health in 2002 to develop strategies for protecting the nation’s livestock and the food supply from acts of agroterrorism and other threats. Today, the center’s mission is more focused on preventing foreign animal disease threats, and the center is partnering with the USDA, state animal health officials, and industry to develop plans for a secure food supply.

With funding from the USDA, the center created a course on emerging and exotic animal diseases, available to every U.S. veterinary college. The center also received USDA support to develop and deliver continuing education for 60,000 USDA-accredited veterinarians. Much of the center’s work has implications for human health, especially recognition and prevention of zoonotic diseases.

“I have been fortunate to have an amazing team of professionals working with me in the center,” Dr. Roth said.

For a full list of members elected to the National Academy of Medicine this year, visit here.