2023-2024 AVMA fellow secures placement in congressional office

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(WASHINGTON, DC) November 8, 2023 — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced today that veterinarian Dr. Mariah Lancaster of Massachusetts, 2023-2024 AVMA congressional fellow, has landed a yearlong placement as a full-time staff member in U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s (MN-04) office.

As a scientific advisor to Rep. McCollum, Dr. Lancaster will use their experience in veterinary medicine, wildlife conservation, and foreign affairs to provide science-based counsel directly to the Congresswoman and her staff. Most recently, Dr. Lancaster served for two years as a Science Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, via the American Association for the Advancement of Science, gaining firsthand public policy experience that will be further bolstered through this fellowship.

“Dr. Lancaster’s opportunity with Rep. McCollum’s office represents how essential it is for veterinarians to be heard and consulted during the process of crafting legislation on the federal level,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, AVMA President. “We bring a science and evidence-based approach to legislative problem-solving that is invaluable to lawmakers. The AVMA is hopeful that Dr. Lancaster’s experience will inspire others in the veterinary community to explore a career in public policy, as veterinary professionals in this space are critical to advancing well-founded human and animal health legislation.”

Dr. Lancaster has also previously served on the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association Government Relations and Advocacy Committee and the Association of Avian Veterinarians Legislative Committee.

“I am immensely grateful for this singular opportunity to serve Congresswoman McCollum,” said Dr. Lancaster. “During my fellowship, I aim to support key priorities for the American people, and animals around the globe, ensuring that we all have clear air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy food to eat. Veterinarians hold critical insights into so many aspects of American life, from livestock management and sustainable agriculture to wildlife population health and the prevention of future pandemics. Our participation in the highest levels of government is critical to both our nation and the international community.”

Dr. Lancaster received a Bachelor of Sciences degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013. In 2017, they received their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

“I welcome Dr. Mariah Lancaster to my Washington, D.C. office as a legislative fellow this year,” said Congresswoman McCollum.“The residents of Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District will benefit from their expertise, science-based approach, and contributions as I work to make strategic investments through the Appropriations Committee in support of our environment, public health, and national priorities. I look forward to having Mariah on board as we take on the challenges that lie ahead!”

About the AVMA

Serving more than 105,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.