AVMA Fellows Provide Veterinary Expertise to Members of Congress

​(Washington, D.C.) – The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced today that its 2013-2014 fellows have accepted appointments into three congressional offices: Dr. Eric Deeble in Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) office; Dr. Nathanial Tablante in Rep. Sanford Bishop’s (D-Ga.) office; and Dr. Kate Varela in Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) office. During their year-long assignments, the fellows will use their scientific expertise and training in veterinary medicine to advise their respective members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, including: agriculture, animal health and welfare, appropriations, food safety, biosecurity, and public health.

“The AVMA Fellowship Program is another way that veterinary medicine can have an impact on legislation that determines the future of animal health and welfare and public health in our nation,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, veterinarian and director of AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division (GRD). “It is absolutely paramount that veterinarians like Drs. Deeble, Tablante and Varela step up to the plate and participate so that Congress has access to the scientific knowledge and expertise it needs to craft sound legislative policy. By using science to dictate policy, and not the other way around, our fellows can ensure that only commonsense legislation moves forward for the health and welfare of animals and the public.”

Individual placements are:

  • Deeble, VMD, will concentrate on food safety and animal agriculture issues in Sen. Gillibrand’s office. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pa., Deeble is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania-School of Veterinary Medicine and is a former AVMA-GRD extern. He has worked internationally in China, Africa and the Near East examining issues of food animal production in low resource communities, animal transport and international market development. 
  • Tablante, DVM, will focus primarily on an agriculture portfolio with a focus on poultry issues in Rep. Bishop’s office. From Elkridge, Md., Tablante is a graduate from the University of the Philippines and is currently an associate professor/extension poultry veterinarian at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He has more than 20 years of experience in poultry health management, epidemiology and biosecurity, and has authored and co-authored many articles and educational materials on these topics.
  • Varela, DVM, will concentrate on public health, conservation, climate and education in Sen. Durbin’s office. From Medford, N.Y., Varela is a graduate from the University of Illinois-College of Veterinary Medicine and most recently worked at a small animal practice near Chicago. She is completing a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration, with a concentration in global health, and is interested in agricultural policy development.

The fellows were selected out of 30 applicants after completing a three-phased, competitive selection process. They will serve as full-time employees to their members of Congress, supporting the needs and activities of their respective congressional offices, until August 2014. They are not AVMA employees or lobbyists.

The AVMA Fellowship Program receives funding from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. AVMA’s fellowship program is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which works to place qualified, scientific experts in congressional offices where there is a need. To date, more than 50 veterinarians have participated in AVMA’s Fellowship Program.

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The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 84,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.


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