Veterinary Spotlight: Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou

Photo credit: Chuck Fazio


Bringing a Public Health Perspective to Veterinary Medical Education


Outbreaks of threats such as SARS, West Nile Virus, H1N1, and other infectious diseases that originate in animals show the interconnectedness of animal and human health and the importance of approaching public health from a veterinary medical perspective.  Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou’s career attests to the fact that veterinarians are uniquely equipped to work at the intersection of animal and human health.

As the AAVMC’s former executive director, she oversaw the development and implementation of policies and programs that advanced veterinary medical education and research.  Her current role with the development firm DAI builds on more than 25 years of experience working in domestic and international public health, both as a professor at the University of Minnesota and as an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), where she researched malaria prevention and control, implemented HIV seroprevalance  and influenza surveillance programs, and coordinated global research and programs in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. 

Dr. Pappaioanou’s “One Health” approach looks at the linkages between human, animal and environmental health to lead to better outcomes in poverty reduction and improved health for all. She strongly encourages aspiring veterinarians to pursue public health careers, domestically and globally, and believes that it’s important for students to realize that job opportunities for veterinarians exist in a variety of fields.  In fact, she cites her own career as an example of one that has allowed her to apply her veterinary medical education in a unique and vital way.

“A veterinary medical education requires looking at health from a multi-species /comparative medicine perspective,” says Dr. Pappaioanou. “That invaluable foundation isn’t an inherent part of any other medical field, at least not in such a comprehensive way.  Veterinarians who pursue public health careers can apply their medical educations in ways that help to keep the entire population – both human and animal -- safe and healthy.  What could be more satisfying?”