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Monday, 15 December, 2014

AAVMC Names Participants in Inaugural Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program

Public Policy Fellows Sarah Allison (left) and Suzie Kovacs
WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 15, 2014 – The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has selected the first two professors from member institutions who will serve in the newly created Public Policy Faculty Fellows Program.

Sarah Allison, from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and Suzie J. Kovacs from the Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine will serve as the inaugural fellows. 

They were chosen based on their demonstrated and potential leadership in advocacy and government.

The faculty fellows program is designed to bring AAVMC-member institutions’ faculty representatives to Washington D.C. to develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the implications of public policy decisions on the profession, and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level. 

During the six to eight-week program, fellows will work with the AAVMC’s Advocacy Committee and with Director of Governmental Affairs Kevin Cain to interact with federal agencies and policymakers and attend congressional hearings and coalition meetings.

Dr. Allison is a veterinarian, clinical assistant professor, and assistant director for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne’s Division of Animal Resources. She is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture and also board certified by the American College of Laboratory Veterinary Medicine (ACLAM). Prior to her current position, she completed a combined postdoctoral fellowship and laboratory animal medicine residency program in the Biologic Resources Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Serving as an AAVMC Public Policy Faculty Fellow would allow me to combine my passions for biomedical research, organized veterinary medicine, and education,” Allison wrote in her application. “What I hope to gain is the knowledge and experience in the federal legislative process in order to become an advocate for the veterinary profession.”

Ms. Kovacs, who is finishing up her doctorate in higher education, is an assistant professor of epidemiology at Western University of Health Sciences, where she is involved in curriculum development and serves as a leader for a course in veterinary issues that cover public policy and social change.

“Organized veterinary medicine is being challenged to become more politically active than it ever has in the past,” wrote Kovacs, adding that, “Political savvy and proactive involvement by the veterinary profession has never been so critical.”

The selection committee consisted of Athena Abdullah, director, government relations, Physician Assistant Education Association; Gina Luke, assistant director, government relations, AVMA; Lauren Inouye, associate director of government affairs, American Association of Colleges of Nursing; Dr. Joan Hendricks, dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Glen Hoffsis, dean, Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“We’re thrilled to kick off this important program and we were very pleased with the quality of the applicants,” said Cain. “I look forward to working with the fellows to bolster the influence of veterinary medicine in the governmental arena and to help develop leaders who will be strong voices for veterinary medicine now and in the future.”

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include all 35 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada, eight departments of veterinary science, seven departments of comparative medicine, 14 international colleges of veterinary medicine, and six affiliate colleges of veterinary medicine.

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AAVMC MEDIA CONTACTS:                                                                                             
Jeanne Johnson or Jeff Douglas                                                                                       
Phone:  202/371-9195, x144                                                                                           

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