Veterinary Public Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

Proposed Resolutions

Proposed Resolutions:

A resolution is being considered for the endorsement of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs as the preferred management of stray and feral cat populations.  More to follow pending SPIG discussion and consensus.

Chair's Message

Welcome & Request to help craft our agenda:

Once again I’d like to introduce myself as the new Chair of the Veterinary Public Health (Animal-Human Health) Special Interest Group (SPIG) and to announce that I will soon be asking your help in deciding our future.  I am working on creating a Web-based survey and will soon seek your input on what it is we think is important, and what issues we should pursue.  Specifically I will ask questions related to: 


  • Your thoughts on changing the name of our SPIG.  As previously mentioned we tossed around a formal name change at our APHA meeting last November.  Names such as “One Health”, the “Human-Animal Interface” or “Human-Animal Health Connection” were suggested.  The discussion centered on making sure we have included everyone that works, or is interested, in human-animal health, and not just veterinarians.  I would like to hear from you on this issue.
  • What do you think is important to us?  I will ask for your help to determine what issues and projects we should be working.  Should we push for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) as a public health measure?  Do we wish to draft support for the development of a comprehensive integrated swine disease surveillance program?  We’re currently drafting a resolution supporting communications among animal advocate groups, wildlife experts, and public health officials, and for consideration of the trap-neuter-release program for cat colony management. What other issues, ideas, thoughts, proposed legislative initiatives, etc.,  are there with a clear human and animal public health impact?   
  • Who are our potential partners?  I plan on contacting the Laboratory SPIG, as well as the One Health Commission, and the US Animal Health Association.  Who else should we actively court for collaborative public health initiatives?   

Again it is an honor to be the SPIG chair, and I very much look forward to working with you and the APHA.  My goal is to publish the survey results in our next Newsletter, well in advance of the next APHA Convention. Thank you!


William Courtney, DVM, MPH

Message from the Editor

2010 Edition:

Times are changing… even our name…

by Jeein Chung

As the Newsletter editor, I'd like to welcome you to the 2010 edition of the Veterinary Public Health Special Interest Group (SPIG) Newsletter!

If you’ve picked up a newspaper or listened to a newscast during this snowy winter, it’s probably hard to ignore any mention of the so-called “swine flu.”  Certainly, there’s a good reason for that.  More properly termed pandemic H1N1 influenza, this virus has truly been “pandemic" in that it has transcended across multiple species, including dogs, cats, pigs, ferrets, and of course, human beings.  There is no doubt that it is an interesting time to be involved with public health issues at the animal-human interface given the burden from zoonoses. 

But there are so many other issues that may relate to diseases at the animal-human interface…  For example, climate change has caused diseases, especially those borne by vectors, such as Lyme disease or malaria, to spread to areas formerly considered protected from these diseases.  A consideration of animal welfare issues such as the control of stray or feral animal populations may become paramount in the control of rabies both in the US, and more importantly, worldwide.

Recently, on Jan 12, 2010, an earthquake of epic proportion hit Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.  Although priorities have been to address the medical needs of the human population, natural disasters also affect the environment, including animal populations.  Therefore, it may be important to consider how animals with agricultural significance have been affected, as this may have a significant impact on food security.  As a country that has faced famine as well as political strife, it will be important to consider these relevant variables to the public health infrastructure.

As noted by our Chair, it is hard to ignore the fact that zoonoses and other issues at the animal-human interface may extend outside the realm of veterinary medicine.  As such, the “Veterinary Public Health” SPIG is seriously considering a name change.  We recognize the potential for other individuals or agencies involved directly or indirectly with animal populations to contribute to the furtherance of the public health.  The One World, One Health (OWOH) initiative clearly takes into consideration the multilateral partners that must be involved when addressing the burden of zoonoses and other relevant health problems.  In further newsletters, we will try to address the multi-faceted roles of other relevant individuals and agencies that are involved with addressing public health issues at the animal-human interface. 

Additionally, we would like to extend our membership to other individuals who may not be veterinarians, but work in allied professions that are relevant to our SPIG!





(due March 31, 2010)

The Nominating Committee for APHA's Governing Council is looking for the following candidates for leadership roles in the organization:


  • APHA President Elect (three year commitment, one year each as president-elect, president and past-president)
  • Executive board – three positions available (4-year term)
  • Speaker of the Governing Council (3-year term)
  • Treasurer (3-year term)

The APHA Governing Council will vote to select these officers at the November (2010) meeting, and they would begin serving immediately after the APHA conference (so terms would start Nov. 10, 2010).


As I'm sure you know, the next APHA Annual Meeting is Nov. 6-10, 2010, in Denver.


Applications are due March 31, 2010 and should include the relevant (attached) one-page form along with resume/CV of the nominee, and any letters of support. The nominating committee will meet May 6 to select the list of nominees for consideration by the Governing Council at the 2010 Annual Meeting.


We hope you will be able to think of individuals who would be excellent candidates for the above positions. 


Should you or a potential candidate wish further information on these positions, please refer to the job descriptions and nomination form available on the APHA Web site at:


If you are interested in running, we suggest you contact your APHA Section, SPIG, Caucus and/or Forum leadership to solicit their support and assistance with your nomination. 


All nominees for the Executive Board are selected from among the membership of the Association, except that the nominees for  Honorary Vice-President may include persons who are not members of the Association.


For more information on the Nominating Committee, contact Ida Plummer via e-mail at


Election and Introductions

Elections and Introductions:

Elections took place during the Business meeting of the APHA Annual Meeting on Nov. 9, 2009.  The following members have been elected as representatives of the Veterinary Public Health SPIG:

Bill Courtney: Chair /Representative to the Governing Council

Jim Dale, Nikkita Patel (assistant): Secretary/Membership/Program Chair

Jee Chung: Communication/Newsletter

Tom Gecewicz: Member at Large

The Chair Elect position was not assigned, and is open for consideration.  In the coming issues of the Newsletter, we would like to have biographies of the above named individuals to show the diversity of interests represented by this SPIG, and any insights they may provide.