The U.S. Public Health Service honored 19 veterinarians for their work in emergencies and health campaigns.
The 2018 Commissioned Corps Veterinary Responder of the Year Award went to 17 of the service's veterinary officers who worked in the response and recovery to the 2017 hurricanes that hit Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The veterinarians led projects related to public health assistance, health messages, occupational health, and disease surveillance.
The recipients are Lt. Cmdr. Laura Adams, Capt. Alicia Anderson, Capt. Casey Barton Behravesh, Cmdr. Heather Brake, Lt. Cmdr. Nelva Bryant, Cmdr. Sherry Burrer, Capt. Bryan Buss, Lt. Caitlin Cotter, Capt. Randolph Daley, Lt. Cmdr. Laura Edison, Cmdr. Mark Freedman, Capt. Renee Funk, Capt. Hugh Mainzer, Cmdr. Catherine Rockwell, Lt. Cmdr Ilana Schafer, Lt. Cmdr. Ann Schmitz, and Capt. Brianna Skinner.
The service also honored Capt. Kis Robertson Hale, deputy assistant administrator and chief public health veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, with the James H. Steele One Health Outstanding PHS Veterinary Career Award. The award is named in honor of Dr. James Steele, who was the first chief of the CDC Veterinary Public Health Division. The USPHS honored Dr. Robertson Hale for her versatility, rapid professional growth, and an impressive performance record since starting her career in public health service in 2003 at the FSIS.
Dr. Robertson Hale joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Epidemic Intelligence Service in 2008, developed expertise on rabies, and transferred in 2010 to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where, as a CDC fellow in preventive medicine, she led an educational campaign to improve clinicians' adherence to protocols on rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. In 2011, Dr. Robertson Hale returned to the FSIS, where she worked as an epidemiologist and team leader and instituted processes to improve data quality, data analysis, and reporting. She also coached and aided staff on using data for policy development, which increased participation in professional conferences, publication in journals, and collaboration on projects. She now is the agency's lead resource on animal health issues.
Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Doyle, senior veterinary medical officer for the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Coordinated Outbreak Response, received the 2018 Junior PHS Veterinary Officer of the Year Award. The USPHS honored him for his leadership and excellence in protecting public health during outbreaks of foodborne disease.
From April 2017 through March 2018, Dr. Doyle spent 184 days as a leader for Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation teams that worked on seven national outbreak investigations. He gave advice and guidance, delegated work, briefed senior managers, and tried to ensure that the teams worked well. Dr. Doyle's other activities include serving as executive secretary of the USPHS Veterinarian Professional Advisory Committee and as a member in the preventive medicine branch of a USPHS rapid deployment team.