The American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians (AAFSPHV) has named Dr. Katherine Fogelberg, director of quality instruction and assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, as 2017 Public Health Veterinarian of the Year. Dr. Fogelberg also directs the school’s Master of Public Health in environmental and occupational health sciences program and its graduate certificate program in food security and public health.
In addition to providing volunteer veterinary medical/surgical services and helping rescue animals find homes, she has made strides in helping the Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health build collaborations between emergency first responders, public health professionals and veterinarians.
“Disaster situations like those we saw with hurricanes Katrina and Ike impact animals as much as people,” she said. “Roughly 30 percent of people in a disaster will refuse to evacuate without their pets. Shelters may not be able to accept animals, and it’s devastating for individuals and families who become separated from their pets. It impacts the overall health and well-being of a community.”
“In areas where livestock means livelihood, a disaster can also affect the ability of farms and related businesses to make a living and deliver products,” she said.
Dr. Fogelberg stresses the far-reaching implications of the human/animal bond in her public health classes as well. Her Food Safety and Security class looks at animals’ effect on the environment, the global food chain and human health.
She has also linked students with graduate learning experiences in other countries to broaden their perspectives in these areas.
“One of Dr. Fogelberg’s achievements since joining UNT Health Science Center has been to connect our public health students with the international organization Veterinarians Without Borders. She led the first group of students to Uganda last year, establishing a link between veterinary aid efforts and protections on the health of people,” said Dr. Dennis Thombs, dean of the School of Public Health.
“There are many illnesses and diseases that can be passed from animals to people. So far, our student volunteer teams have assisted with TB testing and prevention efforts,” he said.
Dr. Fogelberg has extensive experience working with zoo and wildlife animals in Texas, Florida, Colorado, Hawaii and South Africa.
She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the International Society for Infectious Disease.Tags: North Texas