Veterinary Public Health
Section Newsletter
Fall 2011



A big thank you to everyone that participated in our survey! The results showed a strong preference for changing our name to the One Health SPIG. This won by a large margin, 20 points above the next most popular suggestion. The APHA must approve the change and I have already submitted the necessary paper work. Again, thank you and will keep all posted!


The inputs on our vision were clear. Many thought it was a good statement as is, but I did try to incorporate other trends without changing the underlying concept. I propose our new vision statement read:

The Veterinary Public Health Special Primary Interest Group (VPH) focuses on the interface of humans and animals; not just the shared diseases but also the quality of life, health benefits, and environmental health issues. We positively influence the human-animal connection and advance the One Health concept.   


The AVMA, NASPHV and AAPHV were the most numerous suggestions as our best partners. I have had contact with board members of the NASPHV and AAPHV and will introduce our SPIG to the AVMA’s One Health initiative leaders. I am hoping to enlist their support on several goals/initiatives suggested by our members.


  Speaking of projects, besides our obvious roles in zoonotic diseases, the most numerous suggestions for projects were:

1.       Provide stimulating and thought provoking educational programs, particularly at the annual APHA convention


2.       Be the APHA’s leaders on:

a.       Food safety (we should utilize our collective knowledge to craft policies and resolutions on food safety – or others most assuredly will)

b.      The health benefits of animals (above and beyond nutrition) – a concept that was neatly capture in the term “Zooeyia” at this year’s AVMA.   

c.       Humane treatment of animals, including advancing TNR as a cat management program where possible. The Vet PH SPIG recommends TNR be discussed as a preferred option for feral/stray cat management.

d.      Climate change (both the effect animal agriculture may be having on the climate, as well as the effect a changing climate may have on animal agriculture.)

e.       Advancing the One Health initiative.  There are numerous organizations pushing the One Health concept, but are any organizations pulling it?  The AMA supports the concept, but what can be done to advance it within the APHA?


If you have an interest in any of these topics and/or would like to take the lead, please let me know. I can team you up with professionals in other public health organizations. 


Additionally, our SPIG should be leaders within the APHA for developments and issues on antibiotic use in animal feeds; the proposal to mandate identification for interstate shipping of livestock; the Farm Bill updates; and the environmental and health effects of animal agriculture. The APHA has already submitted a resolution on many of these topics and I encourage all to review it: 


Lastly, we should challenge and encourage our veterinary colleagues to take the initiative and engage (over lunch or coffee) local family practitioners, pediatricians, and/or local public health officials on roles and interactions. There is no down side to this type of dialogue. If in need of an icebreaker topic, suggest starting with the incidence of deep mycotic infections in the area (eg. Blastomycosis, Coccidioidomycosis, etc.). Other topics may include the health benefits of owning a pet, the reality of the zoonotic aspects of parasites such as pinworms, and the “get rid of the cat” as treatment for asthma and allergies.


Thank you!


Bill Courtney

Chair, Veterinary (One Health) SPIG


Slogan: “Advancing animal health advances human


In addition to attending town hall meetings this year, APHA would like for you to share a story about why public health funding is important in your community or state. Preferably, the funding would come from one of these three sources:


1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2.  Health Resources and Services Administration

3.  Prevention and Public Health Fund


Examples can provide:


·    An approximate estimate of the amount of the funding received

·    Location of the program (City, state)

·    A summary of the program/intervention (PH issue and intervention being used)

·    Any examples of positive outcomes to date

Make all submission to or email us at

Thanks for taking action to protect public health!


APHA will host a one-day advocacy track of sessions during the 2011 Annual Meeting in D.C. on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, and all APHA members are encouraged to attend to hone their public health advocacy skills. For more detailed information regarding the particular sessions, refer to the 2011 online program ( ) and enter the session number to see the list of planned speakers and topics to be covered. Attendees will be eligible for CE credit.

Ø  “Nailing your policy: Creating APHA’s policy buddy system,” Session 3007.0, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.

Ø  “Media Advocacy: Breaking through the crowded news cycle,” Session 3119.0, 10:30 a.m.

Ø  “The Who, What & How of Advocacy,” Session 3216.0, 12:30-2 p.m.

Ø  “Mobilizing a public health campaign,” Session 3318.0, 2:30-4 p.m.

Ø  “The Role of Social Media in Public Health,” Session 3417.0, 4:30 p.m.

Word from the Chair

Vet SPIG Members,

Hope all are having a great summer and just wanted to send another reminder to mark your calendars for the Fall APHA meeting Oct. 29– Nov. 2,  2011 in D.C.  Our program chair has put together  outstanding sessions, to include community partnering for rabies prevention, veterinary public health planning, one health and antimicrobials in animal feed, and local vet public health in the nation’s capital.  We will also have formal business to attend to at the annual business meeting.  We’ll need to name a chair-elect to assume the duties in the fall of 2012, and I nominate Dr. Jeein Chung, our current newsletter editor and a veterinary public health resident at the U. of Minn.  I will take over as program chair for the retiring Dr. Jim Dale (Thank you, Jim, for all your outstanding service) and Tom Gecewicz is our member at large.  If you have any nominations for chair elect or for secretary please let me know at


Bill Courtney, Chair of Vet Public Health SPIG of the APHA


Update on TNVR

Vet SPIG Members: Thought I’d update you on the status of our proposal to adopt trap-neuter-vaccinate-and-return, or TNVR, as a preferred public  health measure to control free roaming community cats.  


We first submitted our proposal in 2010, but it was rejected on the lack of compelling science.  Our team of experts built a solid package for the appeal. However, the appeal was rejected but there was a comment that “you are close”. 


We submitted an updated version earlier this year, but that was rejected mainly on wildlife concerns, and that some wildlife organizations opposed TNVR. This year’s appeal was also rejected despite the fact that our focus is public health. To assure that we have as complete a proposal as possible, I will send it for comment to the AVMA, other public health groups, and wildlife organizations.This active approach should, at least, focus the issues for and against TNVR.


Also, please think about topics and speakers you’d like to address at future conventions. I will send an electronic survey to our membership soon.

Thanks, and looking forward to seeing all in D.C.!

VPH Lectures

Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the APHA Annual Meeting, Oct. 29–Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C. 

Our program will include a discussion on antibiotics in animal feed (with an introduction from a former CVM chief, plus presentations for and against) on Monday morning. Our business meeting will be that evening at 6:30, and I will send an agenda soon. Plus we have excellent presentations on vet public health in the D.C. area; preparing vet students for careers in global health; veterinary public health planning; community partnering for rabies prevention; and food safety integration at the national level. We will also have an unmanned booth so if you have Vet PH related brochures, please bring them along .

Take care and see you there!

Bill Courtney, Chair, VPG SPIG of APHA