APHIS focuses on recruiting veterinarians in leadership realignment

USDA logoThe United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)  recently announced several senior leadership changes.

Dr. Jack Shere, who was serving as an associate administrator, is moving into a senior leader role where he will focus on recruiting veterinarians and those pursuing degrees in other scientific disciplines relevant to agency needs, said Mike Watson, PhD, acting APHIS administrator, in an October 23 announcement.

“In this role, Dr. Shere will identify current and future staffing needs for the agency, develop an engagement and recruitment strategy, and work directly with colleges, universities and veterinary schools to encourage students to consider careers with APHIS,” according to the announcement, adding that he has already begun working with other USDA agencies, industry groups, and university partners to explore further options to bring the next generation of qualified and dedicated veterinarians and scientists to APHIS.

This past July, the National Association of Federal Veterinarians (NAFV), introduced the resolution “New Policy on Recruiting and Retaining Public Practice Veterinarians” before the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) to bring greater awareness to its sector of the profession.

The NAFV noted that new veterinarians are more likely to take higher paying jobs in private practice than work for the government. For instance, the mean starting salary in 2022 was $114,027 for private practice, compared with $87,862 for public practice, according to the NAFV.

A more comprehensive approach to filling the chronic void in federal veterinary services is needed, according to the NAFV, rather than the current inadequate patchwork of incentives.

Dr. Shere (Iowa State ’87) has held many roles since joining the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services in 1990. He has worked on animal disease outbreaks of Salmonella enteridittis, foot and mouth disease in England, low pathogenic avian influenza, exotic Newcastle disease, and high pathogenic avian influenza.

In other leadership changes, Donna Lalli, PhD, has served as acting associate administrator since late February and will now work permanently in the administrator’s office as an associate administrator. Dr. Lalli will work with Kevin Shea, administrator, and Dr. Watson to carry out day-to-day operations and oversee the activities of every agency program area and support unit.