Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Dr. Brian McCluskey Discusses Serving as an APHIS Veterinarian for Over 20 Years

I’m Brian McCluskey, Chief Epidemiologist for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services.  I’ve been with APHIS for more than 20 years and served in many different capacities.

I decided to become a veterinarian during my junior year in college, as a way to combine my interests in science, medicine and dairy cows.  As soon as I graduated and went into practice working with dairy cows, I found my skills challenged right away!  In my first five calls for calving assistance, four of them involved uterine torsions.  Now, this is a rare condition with a twist in the uterus making it difficult for the calf to come out.  I was able to successfully handle the calls, but I was really questioning my career choice at the time.

When I started out in practice, I helped individual animals and herds in a small area of Washington State.  It’s been very fulfilling to see the growth and progression of how I’ve been able to help animals and animal agriculture during my career.  I left practice and took my first APHIS job as a field vet.  There I could help all kinds of herds and flocks in a wider area.  As an area epidemiology officer, I worked with all of the herds and flocks in a state.  My next stop was as the dairy specialist at the National Animal Health Monitoring System.  I was able to affect the entire nation’s dairy herds.  I designed a survey, implemented it, received the data, analyzed and interpreted what was gathered, and then shared it with the dairy industry and its farmers.  For a guy who spent his high school summers milking cows, it was pretty cool to be able to give back to the industry that way.

Next, I developed the National Surveillance Unit, which designs animal health surveillance systems, from inception into a fully operating unit.  All herds and flocks in the country benefited from our work at NSU.  Then, as Western Regional Director for APHIS Veterinary Services program, I oversaw the many veterinarians and technicians APHIS has in the western states, and worked with the many programs and issues in the western states.  In July, I became the Chief Epidemiologist for APHIS Veterinary Services.  I look forward to continuing to serve APHIS in this new capacity.  It is very rewarding to work with good people who make livestock agriculture better for the nation.

Leave a Reply