APHIS Administrator Dr. Gregory Parham, a Second Generation Veterinarian, Reflects on World Veterinary Year 2011
I’m Dr. Gregory Parham and I’m the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). As a proud member of the veterinary profession, I’m happy to share with you that 2011 has been declared World Veterinary Year in honor of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the first official school of veterinary medicine.
The veterinary profession is one I have been close to for decades. In fact, my father served as a veterinarian for APHIS. During his career, he worked in the field, assisted in disease eradication efforts, and even worked internationally. Seeing what he did every day was a strong influence on me. I learned early in life that becoming a veterinarian could be an interesting career. I followed through with my goal of studying veterinary medicine and have determined that I was right. Being a veterinarian is most certainly an interesting and fulfilling career, one that has exposed me to all sorts of experiences and opportunities.
As a vet trainee, I was in central Florida testing cattle for brucellosis. That wasn’t the hard part. To this day, the scariest moment of my veterinary career had to be learning to watch for alligators while I was out doing tests. Later in my career, I was working in the field as an epidemiologist on a disease outbreak investigation. The blood samples I took from horses led to the isolation of a new virus.
Work such as this is challenging and rewarding for me and for the APHIS veterinarians that help protect animal and human health every day. I would like you to know more about the work they perform in every state across America and internationally.
To that end, we’ll be celebrating World Veterinary Year throughout 2011 by shining the spotlight on all that our veterinarians do. Over the next several months, other members of the APHIS veterinary community will be sharing their own stories in this blog space.
We have quite a diverse group – both in their backgrounds and in the work they do on a daily basis. I’m honored to have such a talented, dedicated staff of veterinarians working at APHIS. I am excited about sharing them with you.
APHIS and USDA are joining with organizations around the world to celebrate World Veterinary Year by highlighting the work of veterinarians on the USDA blog. This post is part of a series underscoring the important and diverse work of APHIS veterinarians. Check back each Thursday as we showcase the work of a different veterinarian.