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The Sky is the Limit

A few weekends ago, ten Texas A & M veterinary students joined students from twenty-eight veterinary colleges from all across North America to learn more about the veterinarian's role in public health.  The "2012 Day at the Center for Disease Control" in Atlanta, Georgia brought together students and practitioners to celebrate the One Health concept.  Besides getting the opportunity to see a gorgeous complex, we were able to hear from many different veterinarians and medical doctors about their career paths in public health.  Public health, from the veterinarian's perspective, is the "sum of all contributions to physical, mental, and social well being of humans through the application of veterinary science."  By applying what we know about diseases shared by man and animals, we can contribute to the health of the human population.

Have you seen the movie "Contagion" yet?  There are actually people, just like Kate Winslet's character, whose job is to travel to the source of a disease outbreak and figure out what agent is causing the disease, how it got there, how it is spreading, and how to contain and treat the disease.  The Epidemic Intelligence Service hires physicians, PhD scientists, and veterinarians for this task.  They have responded to events such as the West Nile virus epidemic in the 90s, the anthrax and 9/11 terrorist attacks, and even the Listeriosis outbreak in cantaloupes we experienced last year. 

Figuring out you want to be a veterinarian is just the first step.  I know I was extremely naive to all the career paths a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine can take you.  Fortunately, Texas A & M's CVM provides opportunities to students both within and outside the classroom to explore different career paths.  Our Dean's Office graciously provided funding for travel and board so that students could attend the conference in Atlanta.  It was really cool to meet people who have found some less traditional ways to use their degree to benefit both animal and man.  Not only am I excited to see how my career pans out, but I am equally excited to see all the unique paths my classmates will take!  It's kinda cheesy, but the sky really is the limit!