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Thursday
Jan102019

Lilli Slippers

These beautiful, creative pieces were submitted by Jessica Trubey from Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Who is Lilli? - A girly, strong-willed, fastidiously clean, independent, hard-working, loving, and frustratingly particular German lady. She is a wife, a sister, a mother, and “Omi” to seven grandchildren. (I’m one of those.) For as long as anyone can remember, she’s been outfitting the whole family with her famous knitted slippers. If you could see us gathered around for Thanksgiving sharing kaffee and kuchen, you’d see all feet lovingly slippered under the table. And more than just our family wear them; friends and roommates and boyfriends along the way all requested a pair for themselves.
When I was around 15, I figured it was time for me to learn to make them too so I could keep the tradition going. Those first few pairs were rough, and I’m sure it was nearly impossible for her to resist taking the needles from me to do it herself so she could “do it right”, as is her habit with other things in life. 
Now I make them myself and have found that knitting while sitting in my lectures in veterinary school helps me listen and focus better. Your purchase will contribute in a drop-in-the-ocean way to my student loans, and in a more significant way to the family tradition of the sought-after Omi slippers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Teammates" - charcoal drawing
"Giselle" - acrylic painting

Wednesday
Jan092019

Three Veterinarians in Congress, Two Veterinary Student Externs, One AVMA GRD Externship

By Erin Beasley

Congressional office visits.  Committee hearings.  Bill mark-ups.  More than 40 meetings with veterinarians in federal government.  Three veterinarians in Congress.  Two veterinary student externs.  One AVMA Government Relations Division.  My externship in September 2018 was one to remember in the nation’s capital.

As a fourth-year student from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, I am pursuing a career in public health and infectious disease epidemiology.  Interested in the relationship of public health and policy, I was excited and honored to be named an extern at the AVMA GRD.

Although the month of September was mostly cloudy and rainy, the days were still bright by my participation in AVMA GRD activities.  I was fortunate to meet more than 40 veterinarians in federal government, including previous AVMA Congressional Fellows.  I learned about numerous avenues for veterinarians in federal government.  Each veterinarian had a unique, exciting path to his/her current position.  These discussions also helped facilitate my understanding of veterinarians’ roles in different agencies.

During my externship, I gained further appreciation and knowledge about the overall legislative process.  Since AVMA is focused on legislation related to veterinary medicine or animal health, I learned about this process particularly through the 2018 Farm Bill.  I attended the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee Meeting, where I witnessed the opening statements of the conferees.  The House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill were discussed throughout September, but the bill ended up expiring without a final vote. Now, lawmakers are hoping to finalize the legislation before the year ends.

One of my favorite parts of the externship was visiting Congressional offices.  As a constituent of North Carolina, I met with staffers in the offices of my senators and representative: Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Richard Burr, and Congressman David Price.  I discussed veterinary-related legislation, such as components of the 2018 Farm Bill and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) Enhancement Act.  Furthermore, Dilara Kiran (the other extern) and I met all three members of Congress who are veterinarians.  It was fascinating to hear about their pathways to Congress and how their veterinary training is utilized in their current positions. 

Being in Washington, D.C. during the end of the fiscal year was interesting, as I observed how certain pieces of legislation were moved quickly to pass while other pieces of legislation accrued more debate and/or continuing resolutions.  The atmosphere of Capitol Hill was electric and exciting, especially prior to the midterm elections.  I enjoyed my short tenure in Washington, D.C. at this busy time.

Outside of the externship, it was fun to explore more of the historic city.  Dilara and I visited several museums, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s “Outbreak” exhibit, which focused on a One Health approach to disease epidemics.  Even though I have been to Washington, D.C. several times, it is always fun to see the monuments and enjoy stellar cuisine.

After attending many events and meetings, I now have memorized most of the Metro map—but more seriously and more importantly, I have gained massive knowledge about the legislative process, current legislation impacting veterinary medicine, and the unique roles of veterinarians in federal government.  I am deeply grateful for the support and advice from the AVMA GRD staff and the collaboration with my fellow extern, Dilara. 

I look forward to advocating for the veterinary profession and contributing to public health policy.  To underclassmen, I strongly recommend this externship, as it will broaden your scope of the profession and recognize how policy affects veterinarians and citizens in general.  Thank you to the AVMA GRD for organizing this valuable externship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Tuesday
Jan082019

Rx One Health

Rebecca Tomasek, Kansas State University

This summer, I had the privilege of participating in Rx One Health, a four-week course organized by the University of California Davis One Health Institute. The course took place in Tanzania, uniting a total of 21 students and young professionals from across the world. Coming from different backgrounds, with varying experiences, each person had something unique to offer the group while we learned about the many facets of One Health. Participating in this course was truly a once in a lifetime experience, one that I will continue to learn and grow from. Throughout the course, we learned about One Health through lectures, activities, simulations, and experiential opportunities.

While on Mafia Island, we learned extensively about marine conservation and challenges. Plastic pollution is a hot topic on social media, but videos and articles can often appear exaggerated, or seem irrelevant to people living in landlocked places. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit Juani Island to watch Green Sea Turtles hatch. Witnessing the small turtles climb through the sand was inspiring and incredible, but the trash surrounding the beach, and smashing into our legs with the crash of every wave on the shore, was heart breaking. While adult female turtles can climb over plastic bottles, discarded containers, and broken flip-flops, newly hatched turtles are too small to overcome such obstacles. I was knocked down twice by the force of the garbage and driftwood crashing against me on shore; without people looking after these turtles, would they stand a chance of making it into the ocean? This first-hand look at the human impact on marine life was eye-opening. Although I can’t remove every piece of plastic from the world’s oceans on my own, I can contribute by recycling and reducing my use of single-use plastics. I know this experience will have a continued impact in guiding my future decisions.

During our time in Tungamalenga, we had the opportunity to sample bats. In the local community, fruit bats roost in a bell tower next to a school. Prior to capturing the bats, we dressed in full personal protective equipment. We then stretched a net across two large poles, hoisting it to the proper height of the windows on the bell tower, which was difficult to coordinate through respirators, across the short distance separating the groups. When the bats flew out of the tower, numerous individuals became caught in the net. Each bat was carefully removed from the net by a team of at least two participants wearing leather gloves. This guaranteed the safety of the bat, in both restraint and freeing the wings and legs from the net. The bats were contained for surveillance, or given juice and released. In sampling of bats, we recorded their weight and gender, collected oral and rectal swabs, and drew a blood sample. Being provided the opportunity to draw blood on a bat and participate in sample collection was unique and interesting. The fragility of a bat and necessary coordination with the restrainer became very apparent in completing this task. Additionally, I had the privilege of providing a bat with juice, prior to releasing it. Watching the bat gulp down juice, similar to how my dog would, was very endearing. We then walked it over to a tree, held it upside down, and found an appropriately sized branch for it to grab onto. Overall, my experience with bats demonstrated a need for exercising caution, handling subjects carefully, and working well with a team.

We also visited Ruaha National Park during Rx One Health. During our time in Ruaha, we worked in four teams to complete surveys on giraffes and buffalo in assigned areas of the park. Specifically, we were collecting information on giraffe skin disease, including the animal demographics of the group, location, surrounding vegetation, and characterization of disease. In regards to African buffalo, we were recording the location, herd size, and individuals seen. My group rotated the individual recording all of the data, while other team members took photographs or identified age, gender, and disease status. Developing a systematic method to confirm your findings without duplicating the animal required effective communication and team coordination. When recording a herd of 12 animals who were wandering around, it became difficult to recall which giraffes had been counted and described, requiring the input of more team members and referencing to photographs. This activity was very engaging and fun, as we drove around searching for giraffes and buffalo, we also saw baboons, zebras, impala, waterbuck, kudu, and elephants. Following our data collection, we compiled the data into a comprehensive report to provide summaries by area and in total. This activity showcased the fun and difficulties involved in field work with a group.

In our final week, we broke into four groups, based on interests, and developed a project proposal for the Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement project. My group was tied together by the broad interest in zoonotic disease. Upon further discussions, we focused our project on Antimicrobial Resistance in Poultry in Iringa. In selecting a topic, identifying the problem, developing a potential study, selecting and interviewing key informants, creating a presentation, writing a proposal, and making a budget tied together many of the interconnected one health components we had been learning throughout the course. Furthermore, given about two days to work on the capstone, we had to utilize the strengths of each group member, effectively complete a minimal literature review, and refine our plan. This activity challenged our critical thinking and strengthened our communication skills.

By participating in Rx One Health, I have strengthened my ability to work effectively in a multidisciplinary team, increased my cultural awareness, gained an understanding of how to engage communities and stakeholders, and learned how to develop and implement projects. Furthermore, Rx One Health has prepared me for my future career by broadening my knowledge base, strengthening various skills, enabling me to identify my passions, and helping me determine areas for personal improvement.

Monday
Jan072019

Reptiles Rule!

Check out these incredible illustrations by Joseph Richichi from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Jan062019

Sunday Feels

Let's face it--Sundays are the worst. But at least we have these great memes submitted by Claudia Perkowski from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine to cheer us up!