Contributor: Katelyn Durbin ’16
Many students interested in veterinary medicine often see their future filled with cats and dogs, livestock or exotic and wildlife animals. Few imagine a career involving disease outbreak investigation, policy reform or international surveillance. To University of Findlay graduate Katelyn Durbin, ’16, the latter options sound perfect.
Durbin, currently a third-year student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Tufts University, recently attended the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) biennial Veterinary Student Day. Students from each veterinary school in the country are selected to attend the 2-day event at the CDC headquarters, located in Atlanta, Georgia, to learn from veterinarians who serve their communities through public health work. Throughout the event, veterinary students are exposed to the interdisciplinary movement “One Health”. “One Health” encapsulates the idea that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment, and that recognizing that connection will lead to optimal health outcomes on local, national and global levels. Veterinary speakers and panelists relayed their own experiences to show students the exciting opportunities that await them. Speakers at the recent event discussed a variety of topics including their roles in containing the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak, ongoing efforts in surveillance for tick and mosquito-borne diseases, and their contributions to natural disaster emergency response. Dr. John de Jong, the American Veterinary Medical Association president (AVMA), also spoke about opportunities through the AVMA, including loan repayment options and policy fellowships in Washington, D.C.
Durbin said the event helped her meet other veterinary students from around the country and discover unique possibilities available to her during fourth-year rotations. One of the highlights was learning about the Epidemiology Elective Program through the CDC. The program gives veterinary students the opportunity to assist with national disease data analysis and possibly go on outbreak investigations. Durbin plans to apply for this opportunity in the coming months but says she is keeping her mind open.
“With my DVM and MPH degrees I am hoping to one day land a position with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or CDC, but I also enjoy private practice work,” said Durbin. “No matter where I end up, I am looking to serve my community with public health in mind.”
Durbin earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Findlay. She credits her success during her first and second year of veterinary school to the animal handling, animal reproduction and clinical reasoning courses offered at Findlay. Among the many things she loved about Findlay, she is most grateful to her advisors within the Pre-Veterinary program and the Pre-Vet Club. The program provided career development opportunities such as an internship with BoJhun Environmental Services in Fostoria, Ohio, focusing on water quality, as well as shadowing Findlay alumna, Jessica Van-Hooke, DVM, MPH, ‘05, a USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) veterinarian. Durbin feels strongly that these experiences influenced her to explore unique career opportunities within veterinary medicine.
“Veterinarians are best poised to approach new, complex problems facing the world because they have the most intimate knowledge of how human, animal and environmental health are interconnected,” Durbin explained. She encourages anyone interested in health professions to consider positions in local, state and federal public health agencies as one’s impact can be monumental.
For more information about the University of Findlay’s Animal Science program, please visit: www.findlay.edu/sciences/animal-science/