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UC Davis alumnus chosen for congressional fellowship

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Carolyn La Jeunesse is a 1983 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

AVMA fellows serve Congress by providing scientific counsel on animal and public health policy

(D.C.) May 6, 2014—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased to announce the three veterinarians who will serve in the 2014-2015 AVMA Congressional Fellowship Program: Drs. Elise Ackley from Shreveport, La., Chase Crawford from Houston, Texas, and Carolyn La Jeunesse from Port Orchard, Wash. Starting this August, they will serve for one year in Washington, D.C., as scientific advisors to members of Congress where they will use their scientific background to shape legislation and regulations that affect animal and public health and the future of veterinary medicine.  

“The AVMA Congressional Fellowship Program is a unique way for veterinarians at all stages in their careers to learn about the legislative process and take part firsthand in developing public policies that will have a national and global impact,” said Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division. “Not only will Drs. Ackley, Crawford and La Jeunesse serve their country by providing advice on a wide range of pressing scientific, national issues, but they will also be able to network with officials in all branches of the federal government, which will hopefully open up new career opportunities for them. On behalf of the AVMA, I would like to extend my congratulations to the new fellows on being accepted into the program and welcome them to Washington.”

The fellows will serve in a congressional office or on a congressional committee where they will advise policymakers on legislation spanning a wide range of issues, such as food safety, public health, research and small business issues, to name a few. This September, the fellows will interview with congressional offices and/or committee staff to receive their year-long placements and, once placed, will support the activities of that office full-time. The fellows are not AVMA employees or lobbyists. 

The 2014-2015 fellows were selected out of 20 applicants for the program which included a three-phased, competitive selection process. AVMA’s Fellowship Selection Committee was chaired by AVMA President-elect Dr. Ted Cohn and included former AVMA congressional fellow Dr. Kaylee Myhre and Assistant Director in the AVMA Scientific Activities Division Dr. Cheryl Eia.  

The 2014-2015 AVMA Congressional Fellows are:

Dr. Ackley is a 2014 graduate of Louisiana State University. Throughout her veterinary education, Ackley has worked for a number of congressional offices and regulatory agencies, including: the Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. She also previously served as a student extern in AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division and as president of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Crawford is a 2014 graduate of Texas A&M University. During his time as a student, Crawford focused on issues related to the One Health concept and has worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as well as the WHO.

Dr. La Jeunesse is a 1983 graduate of the University of California-Davis. As a clinician, she primarily practices in the area of small companion animal emergency and critical care. She is a writer, educator and consultant in many areas related to professional career development, communications, professional wellness, biomedical ethics and end-of-life issues for those working in caregiving professions. As a past president of the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, she has also collaborated on issues and policy related to veterinary practice and animal health and welfare at the local, state and national levels. 

The fellowship program is sponsored through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which works to place qualified, scientific experts in congressional offices where there is a need. To date, more than 55 veterinarians have participated in AVMA’s Congressional Fellowship Program.