Hello, I’m Dr. David Dargatz. I work as an epidemiologist and beef cattle specialist for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado. My work includes coordinating/conducting national studies of health and management practices on beef cattle operations as part of the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS). I’ve been with APHIS since 1988. In the past, I’ve also worked on NAHMS dairy and swine studies.
Like many other veterinarians, I became interested in veterinary medicine from exposure to the local practitioners in my home town. My family had horses and needed the services of a veterinarian from time to time. The two practitioners in the local clinic encouraged me to ride with them on calls and spend some time in the clinic to see what veterinary practice was like. By the time I was halfway through high school, I knew this was the profession for me – it allowed me to combine my interests in horses and other livestock, science, and being outdoors. Read more »
Hello, I am Dr. Rosslyn Biggs. I am a Field Veterinary Medical Officer (VMO) with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services stationed in southwest Oklahoma.
My mother was also a veterinarian, so I was exposed to the profession at an early age. She later worked as a VMO for USDA APHIS VS as well. I always had an interest in veterinary medicine as a career because I liked the combination of animals and problem solving. After veterinary school, I worked in a mixed animal practice for approximately three years before joining the staff at APHIS in the spring of 2007. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Jack Shere, the Eastern Regional Director for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services program.
As a kid, we had a German Shepherd mix puppy. My dad brought her home from a shelter and we took her to the veterinarian for shots. After a time, she got sick, displaying a series of symptoms that turned out to be distemper. She’d contracted it when she was too young for the puppy shots. The symptoms got worse until one Friday when she had a seizure in the kitchen. We called the vet to ask about bringing her in to be humanely put to sleep and the vet said he would. Watching this puppy die was heartbreaking for my entire family. I decided then to become a vet and to never turn down emergency calls so no one had to go through what my family did with this puppy. I’ve kept that vow in years since I graduated vet school. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Larry Ludemann and I’m a Senior Staff Veterinarian for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). It’s our job to make sure veterinary biologics, including vaccines, are safe, pure, potent and effective.
My duties include reviewing and licensing veterinary vaccines. Manufacturers looking for approval on a vaccine are required to submit supporting data and reports about the vaccine for analysis. I am responsible for writing a response to this submitted information. Before taking my current position, I also spent 13 years in the CVB testing lab. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Suelee Robbe Austerman. I work at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Agriculture has always been my first love. I grew up on a ranch, but like many girls of my generation, there were limited opportunities to become part of the operation. During college, I fell in love with veterinary medicine – as I could combine my interests in agriculture and science. I spent my first six years out of vet school in large animal practice in South Dakota. Then, I taught food supply veterinary medicine at Iowa State while working on my Masters and PhD. While working on my PhD, I joined USDA’s Agriculture Research Service working on Johne’s disease. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Bill Huls, Facilities Manager with USDA APHIS’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). I have been with APHIS since 2002. The CVB regulates the industry that manufacturers veterinary biological products including animal vaccines and diagnostic test kits. I communicate with firms on a daily basis to help ensure they are maintaining compliance with federal regulations. This includes managing documents and items that relate to those firms – things like policies and procedures used by the manufacturer to prepare their products, procedures for who enters and exits the facility, the organization and arrangement of the facilities they make their product in, etc. I also conduct inspections of facilities that manufacture biological products. The work performed by the CVB helps ensure both animal and human health is safeguarded.
I decided to become a veterinarian when I was 18 after spending time with a veterinary practitioner in my hometown. Following completion of veterinary school I joined a small animal practice. Eventually, I bought my own practice. My practice years allowed me to have some pretty cool and challenging experiences. Read more »