Hi, I’m Dr. Sunny Geiser and I’m in the Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) trainee program in USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Western Region. I’m currently stationed in Fort Collins, CO.
I grew up with horses and livestock and always enjoyed working with them. The medical aspect of their care fascinated me, so I decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. After vet school, I worked in both private practice and state regulatory medicine before joining APHIS. There’s a broader role to regulatory medicine and it feels like you are doing a greater service.
My APHIS career began as an import/export veterinary medical officer in New Jersey. When the AVIC trainee program opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to participate. I’m in the middle of the 18 – 24 month program where I get to gain experience, bolster my supervisory capabilities and prepare for a career as an AVIC.
Some of the things I’ve done recently include working with the administrative team at the Western Region Office to develop a vacancy tracking database, delineating opportunities for cost savings, and coordinating with other APHIS groups on a survey for horse owners related to the recent Equine Herpes Virus 1 outbreak. I’ve been able to spend a good deal of my time acting as a temporary AVIC in several states to cover for vacations and retirements. Every day is a valuable learning experience for me right now.
One of the most rewarding things I’ve done here at APHIS was to participate in a bovine TB outbreak. I’d never done TB testing before, but I got the opportunity to travel to Oregon to be part of the team that tested a very large dairy. In addition to the actual testing, I gained a new appreciation for the size and scale of such an operation and the impact a disease like TB could have on it. The team was well coordinated and completed our task in roughly half the time originally estimated!
Some of my best experiences in veterinary medicine have been collaborating with our intelligent and hardworking state and federal veterinarians, who work together to protect animal health. I love the people I work with, as well as that feeling of being a part of the overall picture of animal health.