When Dr. Sarah Allison talks about her recent veterinary public policy fellowship, she exudes excitement.
“I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to participate in this fellowship,” said Dr. Allison, a clinical assistant professor and assistant director for the campus Division of Animal Resources. “It was life changing.”
Dr. Allison was one of two inaugural Public Policy Fellows, a new program of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) designed to help faculty representatives develop leadership skills in the advocacy arena, explore the importance of public policy decisions to the profession, and gain overall knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process at the federal level.
The AAVMC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people, and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine.
During her fellowship, which ran from April 13 to May 22, Dr. Allison worked with the AAVMC’s Advocacy Committee and its director of governmental affairs Kevin Cain. She interacted with federal agency officials and policymakers, attended congressional hearings and coalition meetings, visited legislative staffers from her state, and met with veterinarians serving as AVMA Congressional Fellows and staffers in House and Senate offices. She also worked with government affairs and advocacy leaders from non-profit organizations, and with veterinarians working for government agencies.
In the photo above, Dr. Allison, a 2001 graduate of the college, poses near the Capitol Building with fellow Illini Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR5), a 1977 alumnus.
As a veterinarian who is board certified by the American College of Laboratory Medicine, Dr. Allison has a special interest in National Institutes of Health funding for biomedical research.
“I think it’s so important to advocate for increased funding for research and education, “she said. “The next great breakthroughs are going to come from today’s students and we need to make sure that they have all of the opportunities and resources that they need.”
Excerpted from reporting by Jeanne Johnson, AAVMC