Three veterinarians will soon be providing scientific counsel to our nation’s elected officials as part of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) 2015-2016 Fellowship Program, the AVMA announced this week. Drs. Rachel Cumberbatch of Washington, D.C., Honorata “Kuki” Hansen of Silver Spring, Md., and Lauren Stump of Baton Rouge, La., will serve for one year on Capitol Hill where they will use their scientific expertise to shape federal policy on issues that impact animal and public health.
“It is so important—now more than ever—that our elected officials hear from the scientific experts who understand how animal, public and environmental health are interrelated,” said Dr. Ted Cohn, AVMA president. “I would like to congratulate and thank Drs. Cumberbatch, Hansen and Stump for dedicating the next year of their lives to working with Congress to help advance policies that will protect and promote both human and animal health.”
Starting in August, the fellows will serve for one year as full-time staff in a congressional office or on a congressional committee where they will advise policymakers on a wide range of pressing issues impacting animal health and welfare—such as preventing the soring of walking horses—and on those cross-over issues that impact both human and animal health—such as the use of antibiotics in food animals. The fellows are not AVMA employees or lobbyists.
The 2015-2016 AVMA Fellowship Selection Committee—comprised of former AVMA President Dr. Clark Fobian, former AVMA fellow Dr. Eric Deeble and assistant editor in the AVMA Publications Division Dr. Rosemarie Seymour—selected the fellows after a three-phased, competitive process from a pool of 15 very diverse and talented applicants.
The 2015-2016 AVMA fellows are:
- Dr. Cumberbatch, originally hailing from Lebanon, Ind., is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University who is interested in the human-animal interface, healthcare services, workforce development, and the role of public veterinary medicine in health policy. She most recently served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she supported efforts to promote better air quality. She has also served as: an associate veterinarian for the Connecticut Veterinary Center; veterinary intern at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; president of the non-profit insurance organization, DC Science & Technology Fellows, Inc.; and student trustee for Purdue University.
- Dr. Hansen, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a 2001 graduate of the University of Glasgow's School of Veterinary Medicine in Scotland, who is interested in One Health, resilience to climate change and aquatic animal health. She has over 10 years of private practice experience and has worked in the translational sciences department of a biotechnology firm and most recently as a chief veterinarian for a municipal animal shelter. She completed her master’s in public health in environmental health from the University of Minnesota in 2012 and became board certified in Veterinary Preventative Medicine in 2013. She volunteers with local and state emergency management agencies, such as the Montgomery County Animal Response Team and Maryland's Medical and Public Health Volunteer Corps.
- Dr. Stump, from De Ridder, La., graduated from Louisiana State University this month, and is focused on leadership in the veterinary profession. As a veterinary student, she served as the president of her student chapter of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, extern for the Louisiana Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program, and has experience in other organizations and activities aimed at furthering the practice of veterinary medicine, such as AVMA’s 2013 Legislative Fly-in.
The fellowship program is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which works to place qualified, scientific experts in congressional offices where they are needed. To date, 58 veterinarians have participated in the AVMA Fellowship Program.