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When you join the Commissioned Corps, you become a part of a dedicated team of professionals who work to improve the health of individuals, communities, and the Nation.

Meet some veterinary officers from the Commissioned Corps.

Lieutenant William Lanier
Veterinarian, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Converted from civil servant to Corps officer…
After veterinary school, LT William Lanier took a job with FSIS as a Federal Government civil servant. While performing his duties, he was encouraged to join the Commissioned Corps to expand his career development opportunities. The more he learned about the Corps, the more interested he became. LT Lanier was eligible to receive a commission in the U.S. Public Health Service, keeping the same job but becoming an officer. As a supervisory public health veterinarian, he oversees the work of other inspectors at several slaughter and meat-processing facilities to help promote food safety and food defense. LT Lanier says, “The Corps has definitely been good to me and my family. I love the interaction with animals and using my veterinary skills to protect and improve public health.”

Lieutenant Commander Kris Carter
Veterinarian, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Helping prevent public health problems...
LCDR Kris Carter is a career epidemiology field officer stationed at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, where she never has a typical day. “I work not only across traditional disease boundaries, but in different functional areas as well. My many roles encompass administrative, teaching, research support, and response functions,” she says. Last summer she led the department’s response to an E. coli outbreak associated with a splash park by coordinating data and providing recommendations. LCDR Carter knew she wanted to be a vet before she went to grammar school, but she had to be convinced there was a role for veterinarians in public health. She says, “In the Corps, I’m part of a larger organization that’s working for the greater good. I also have the ability to respond to national and international emergencies. The Corps provides lots of options to officers for mobility, variety, and opportunity.”

Captain Clara J. Witt
Veterinarian, HHS Office for Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Traveling the world and preparing for emergencies at home.
CAPT Clara J. Witt has been dispatched to some of the world's most exotic locations to combat threats to life on earth. As a veterinarian at the Office for Public Health Emergency Preparedness in Bethesda, MD, CAPT Witt educates policymakers to prepare for and respond to the threat of avian flu and other pandemics. During her career in the Corps, she has traveled to Cambodia and Laos; has served at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland; and has been detailed to the Department of Defense. "It is public health, and it is service—and it couldn't be better," says CAPT Witt.

Captain Don Gardner
Veterinarian, National Institutes of Health

Studying emerging infectious diseases.
As the sole veterinary pathologist for the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, CAPT Don Gardner consults with research scientists who use animals to study emerging infectious diseases—work that is important not only to human health, but also to our Nation's biodefense. During his career in the Corps, CAPT Gardner's work has positively impacted his field by reducing the use of animal involvement in biomedical research testing. His service has also included emergency response, including deployment to Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. "I'm lucky because my work as a veterinary pathologist helps research scientists answer questions about diseases and treatments," CAPT Gardner says.

Commander Jennifer McQuiston
Veterinarian, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Animal health and public health.
A human outbreak of monkeypox? In 2003, CDR McQuiston was the lead investigator into just such an outbreak. After tracing the outbreak to infected prairie dogs for sale as pets, the CDC was able to find the source: African rodents imported for pets. As a team leader, her job is to protect public health from animals and animal products shipped to the U.S. through minimum quarantine and testing. In 2006 her department saw more than 28,000 primates that were quarantined and tested for 31 days before they were released. A current issue is dogs and cats bred outside of the United States that are not adequately vaccinated. The puppies and kittens coming into the country can bring rabies and other communicable diseases that can threaten public health. CDR McQuiston says, "I feel good going home every night knowing I made a difference serving the public. Serving in the Corps is a very fulfilling job. I would say it's the best job in the world!"

Commander Stephanie Harris
Veterinarian, Environmental Protection Agency

Clean and safe drinking water.
Lead microbiologist CDR Stephanie Harris analyzes drinking water for bacterial contamination and provides assistance when there is a microbial problem in the water to make it safe again. She responds to other public health and safety issues, and gives presentations on drinking water diseases, interacting with people and letting them know that the Corps and EPA are involved in the supply of safe water. CDR Harris says, "I've spent more than 16 years in the Corps and find microbiology more satisfying than veterinary medicine." She finds the varied work in the Corps challenging and enjoys the sense of belonging when she wears her uniform. As a member of the veterinary recruitment subcommittee, CDR Harris encourages others to explore the opportunities the Commissioned Corps offers.

Captain Diane Forsythe
Veterinarian, National Institutes of Health

Ready for an animal emergency.
Six weeks following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, CAPT Diane Forsythe was deployed to a makeshift animal care facility at the Louisiana State University coliseum, where she treated pets that had been separated from their owners. CAPT Forsythe practiced general veterinary care, vaccinating and microchipping every pet that came through the door. She also tried to match animals with their owners. "I've never seen pet and human reunions on such a large scale," she says. CAPT Forsythe also drove around looking for animals that had been stranded and removing dogs from temporary shelters. "We looked in houses to remove animals, and we were stunned by how many pets were alive after 6 weeks with almost nothing," she says. Having spent more than 20 years in the Commissioned Corps, CAPT Forsythe likes being in a uniformed service. As an officer, she was able to take advantage of the Corps degree granting program to earn a specialty board certification in laboratory animal medicine.

If you are a veterinary student or a veterinarian interested in the Commissioned Corps, take the next step! E-mail us your questions, call us at 800-279-1605, or apply online now.

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Last updated on 7/2/2008