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Veterinarians at CDC. Jennifer Gordon Wright, DVM, MPH, DACVPM Auburn University, 1998 Presentation Today. Why veterinarians and public health? How I came to be where I am Opportunities for employment Veterinarians at CDC

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veterinarians at cdc

Veterinarians at CDC

Jennifer Gordon Wright, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Auburn University, 1998

presentation today
Presentation Today
  • Why veterinarians and public health?
  • How I came to be where I am
  • Opportunities for employment
  • Veterinarians at CDC
  • How can you start a career in the federal or state government?
public health
Public Health

“ is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.”

Institute of Medicine, The Future of Public Health, 1988


Serving the Nation in All

Components of the

Veterinary Oath

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

links between human and animal health
Links Between Human and Animal Health







Bio- Agro-


Mental Health






emerging and re emerging zoonoses 1996 2005

Multidrug resistant Salmonella

E.coli O157


E.coli non-O157



West Nile Virus

West Nile

E.coli O157

Hantavirus pulmonary



Reston virus

Influenza A(H5N1)

Lyme Borreliosis

Reston Virus


Lassa fever

Nipah Virus


Equine Encephalitis

Rift valley Fever

Yellow fever



Ross River virus

Equine morbillivirus

Hendra virus

Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses, 1996–2005

Recent outbreaks

Influenza / Madagascar

CCHF / Afghanistan, Iran

Tularemia / USA, Kosovo

Yellow fever / Ivory Coast

Brucellosis / Mongolia

E. coli 0157 / Canada

Hantavirus / US


Nipah virus / Malaysia

Avian Influenza / Hong Kong

West Nile / USA, Canada

Ebola / Gabon, Congo

BSE /Canada

Monkeypox / DRC/ US

SARS / Global

Avian Influenza H5N1

veterinarians preventing zoonoses in clinical practice
Veterinarians Preventing Zoonoses in Clinical Practice
  • Rabies
  • Ascarids and Hookworms
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Cat Scratch Fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • Scabies, ringworm
  • Brucellosis; Undulant fever
  • Psittacosis
  • Tick-borne diseases
  • Other
the long and winding road
The long and winding road…

Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Auburn University

    • Interest in working at CDC, but in what capacity?
  • DVM from Auburn University, 1998
    • Planned a career in small animal practice
    • Turning point – a lecture in sophomore PH lecture about a human case of plague
  • Went into practice for a few years
    • Found the EIS program while searching the web for jobs
  • Began MPH work in 2000, worked at CDC
  • Entered EIS in July 2002
history of cdc
History of CDC
  • 1946 - Communicable Disease Center founded in Atlanta by Dr Joseph W Mountin
  • 400 employees, mostly engineers and entomologists working on malaria prevention
    • Original focus on vectorborne and zoonoses
  • Growing awareness that expansion to all communicable diseases was necessary
cdc in 1944
CDC in 1944

Return to top.

history of cdc continued
History of CDCcontinued
  • 1950 – Korean War –threat of biological warfare loomed
    • Dr Alexander Langmuir – emphasis on epidemiology and surveillance to guard against threats to public health
    • Created CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS)
      • “Disease Detectives”
key cdc successes
Key CDC Successes
  • 1955: Surveillance data used to trace polio and influenza epidemics, leading to national guidelines for use of vaccines
  • 1962 – 1977: Global smallpox eradication
  • Mid 1970s – 1980s: Identified the cause of Legionnaires Disease and toxic-shock syndrome
  • 1981: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome first mentioned in MMWR
cdc today
CDC today
  • One of 13 components of DHHS
  • >8000 employees
    • Headquarters – Atlanta, Morgantown, Ft. Collins, Cincinnati, Hyattsville
    • State health departments
  • International reputation
  • Applies research and findings to improve daily lives
  • Respond to health emergencies
  • Not just infectious diseases
    • Chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, environmental health threats

CDC in2006

“ The function of developing and protecting health must rank even

above that of restoring it when it is impaired. “ Hippocrates

how cdc operates
How CDC operates
  • Jurisdiction over:
    • Cruise ships docking in US ports
    • Importation of people/animals with communicable disease
  • Otherwise, need invitation of the state or reservation to assist
veterinarians at cdc18
Veterinarians at CDC
  • Epidemiologists
  • Laboratory animal veterinarians
  • Laboratory research
  • Health Educators
  • EIS program
  • Outbreak investigations
  • Research and surveillance
  • Policy recommendations
what is the eis program
What is the EIS Program?
  • Epidemic Intelligence Service (aka “Disease Detectives”)
  • Established in 1951
  • Mission: To prevent & control communicable diseases
  • A 2 year training program in applied epidemiology
  • Domestic and International Service
    • Respond to Requests for Epidemiologic Assistance
eis continued
  • 55-75 officers, 6-9% are veterinarians
  • Applications are due in October for the following year’s class
  • Additional training or experience in public health encouraged prior to application

Copper in drinking water

Copper in drinking water



E. coli

E. coli





Hanta Virus

Hanta Virus

Norwalk Virus



TB in immigrants

TB in immigrants

Lead screening

Lead screening

Where do EIS Officers Train?

Legionnaires' Disease/Norwalk virus

West Nile Virus/Anthrax


Hurricane Hugo


fmd surveillance uk may 2001
FMD Surveillance, UK May 2001
  • Serosurvey of sheep to lift quarantine in infected areas
laboratory animal veterinarians
Laboratory Animal Veterinarians
  • Care for CDC research animals
    • Horses, non-human primates, rabbits, ferrets, etc
  • Instrumental during Monkeypox outbreak for arranging transport of potentially infected animals from the Midwest for testing purposes
  • Laboratory animal medicine residency/board certification desirable, but not 100% necessary to work in the office
laboratory research
Laboratory research
  • Influenza, Salmonella, E. coli, parasitic diseases, as a few examples
  • Additional schooling – MS or PhD necessary to assist in most laboratories
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship
health educators
Health Educators
  • Healthy Pets, Healthy People website
  • Consultations to TV shows
    • Publicize important health messages
    • “House MD” – message on 3/7 episode regarding risks of eating unpastuerized cheese
  • Prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary curriculum
  • Develop educational activities around outbreak investigation/research findings
student recent graduate opportunities
Student/Recent Graduate Opportunities
  • State and local health departments
  • Opportunities with USDA, FDA
  • Public Health Service co-step program*
  • CDC - Summer student employment
  • CDC – Epidemiology elective
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases fellowship

*currently limited opportunities due to budget

epidemiology elective
Epidemiology Elective
  • September through June
  • 6-8 weeks
  • Defined project, often a chance to assist with outbreak investigations
  • Deadline: May 30th of your Junior year
  • No financial support for living expenses, etc; support for investigation related travel
emerging infectious diseases fellowship
Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship
  • 1 year program
  • Field of degree must in some way be applicable to research program
  • US Citizens only
  • Application deadline is mid-February each year
  • Must be graduating before start fellowship
personnel systems
Personnel Systems
  • Civil Service
  • Commissioned Corps of US Public Health Service
  • Military Services (Air Force, Army)
  • Fellows
  • Contractors
usphs com corps veterinarians
USPHSCom Corps Veterinarians
  • Who are we and what do we do?
  • How do you get a job with the Com Corps of the Public Health Service?
appointment process
Appointment Process

Step 1: PHS Application

Step 2: Identify vacancy

Step 3: Accept offer

Step 4: Call to

active duty

  • Exciting career opportunities at CDC exist for veterinarians
  • About 35-40% of CDC veterinarians are PHS officers
  • Training programs are important entry points
    • EIS class is a great entry point
    • Epidemiology elective – invaluable experience
    • Additional education (MS, MPH, PhD) a plus
Nina Marano, CDC

Marguerite Pappaniou, U Minn

Jennifer McQuiston, CDC

Diane Gross, CDC

Marta Guerra, CDC

Steve McLaughlin, CDC

Kristy Murray, U Texas - Houston

Paul Arguin, CDC

Joel Montgomery, CDC

Kathy Perdue, NIH

Linda Demma, CDC