ATLANTA — Of the estimated 90,000 veterinarians in the United States, just 2.5 percent work in public-health sectors.
Considering the emergence of West Nile virus, monkeypox and avian influenza, that's not enough to fill an urgent need for
public-health veterinarians, say officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To recruit future practitioners, CDC courted roughly 360 students and faculty from across the United States and Canada on
Jan. 28 as part of the agency's second Veterinary Student Day.
The day-long seminar introduced students to CDC's mission of public health and epidemiology, featured talks on outbreak investigations
led by CDC and state veterinarians and included an exhibit on CDC, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration
and state public-health programs.
During a simulation exercise, students were asked to recall foods eaten during a reception the previous evening for a case
and control study. A fictitious event in which some students became ill after eating spinach appetizers at the reception provided
a real-life scenario to study inter-agency cooperation and methods of identifying the cause of an outbreak. The case study
included a taped interview with CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding in a staged press conference to describe the agency's response.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, American Veterinary Medical
Association, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine
sponsored the event.