The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased to announce that its 2015-2016 Congressional Fellows have accepted positions on Capitol Hill, where over the course of a year they will use their scientific expertise and training in veterinary medicine to advise members of Congress on a variety of policy issues. Dr. Rachel Cumberbatch will serve in Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) office; Dr. Honorata “Kuki” Hansen in Rep. Sam Farr’s (D-Calif.) office; and Dr. Lauren Stump in Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) office.
“As veterinarians, we know all too well that what happens in Washington has a direct impact on how we practice medicine and run our clinics,” said Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president. “With many pressing issues facing our country today, it is imperative that lawmakers hear from the scientific experts who can help them make informed decisions about future policies that will not only impact the veterinary profession, but human and animal health. On behalf of the veterinary profession, I would like to congratulate Drs. Cumberbatch, Hansen and Stump for answering the call to public service and wish them the best of luck over the course of their fellowship.”
Dr. Cumberbatch, originally hailing from Lebanon, Ind., and a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, will cover Sen. Franken’s healthcare portfolio, including: access to healthcare, health information technology, and medical research and innovation. Cumberbatch recently served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she supported efforts to promote better air quality.
Dr. Hansen, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, and a 2001 graduate of the University of Glasgow's School of Veterinary Medicine, will focus primarily on climate issues, endangered species, marine mammals and fisheries for Rep. Farr. Hansen has a deep interest in One Health, resilience to climate change and aquatic animal health. She completed her M.P.H. in environmental health from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and became board certified in veterinary preventative medicine in 2013.
Dr. Stump, a native of DeRidder, La., and a 2015 graduate of Louisiana State University, will focus on energy and natural resources as well as endangered species in Sen. Flake’s office. Stump has a background in animal sciences and agriculture, and has previously worked on and researched zoonotic diseases in the Louisiana Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program. She also served as president of the LSU Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The fellows will serve until August 2016 as full-time staff in their respective congressional offices. They are not AVMA employees or lobbyists.
The fellowship program is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which works to place qualified, scientific experts in congressional offices where they are needed. The AVMA Fellowship program receives additional support from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. To date, more than 60 veterinarians have participated in the AVMA Fellowship Program.