Ann Carpenter, DVM, MPH
What is your current position and what kinds of things do you do?
"I am a veterinary ORISE fellow in the One Health Office at CDC. I recently spent a year on the CDC COVID-19 response, where I worked on domestic One Health coordination, specifically helping organize the federal and state collaboration on the One Health aspects of COVID-19. This also included working with team members to investigate cases of SARS-CoV-2 in animals, create resources to support epidemiologic investigation of animals suspected or confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2, and creating guidance for veterinarians and other groups.
"I've been accepted into the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) class of 2022, so will be staying at CDC.
What is your favorite thing about your current job?
"My favorite thing about my current job is the broad subject matter that we cover. One Health is a team sport, and we collaborate with other groups at CDC on everything from antimicrobial resistance to emerging zoonotic diseases. Our office also has very diverse training and experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from my teammates.
How has your dual degree helped you in your current job?
"One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach—working at the local, regional, national, and global levels—with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. As such, it’s critically important to appreciate this overlap and intersection. The MPH program helped prepare me to work in this space, particularly the coursework in public health policy and environmental health. My veterinary training is essential for the technical aspects of my position, but my MPH training helps me see the bigger picture and how each piece fits together.
When you first started thinking about being a veterinarian, what work did you envision doing? Has your expected career path changed since starting vet school?
"When I first started thinking about being a veterinarian, which was at a very young age, I knew I wanted to help animals, but didn’t have a clear idea of the specific capacity in which I wanted to be working. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the Public-Corporate track at VMCVM, because it exposed me to so many of the opportunities available to veterinarians outside of clinical practice. Through this experience, particularly during 4th year rotations, I was able to learn a great deal about different opportunities, and identify those where I could see myself being successful.
"I worked in small animal practice for a period of time following vet school to solidify my clinical skills, then joined the One Health Office at CDC. I love my work in the One Health Office because I’m able to make an impact on a larger, population scale, and help protect and promote human, animal, and environmental health. I still get my clinical fix, and work at a small animal hospital on the weekends. As I consider the future, I would like to gain more experience in applied epidemiology, outbreak investigation and response.
What is one thing you wish all students knew about veterinary public practice?
"I think that for many students, veterinary public practice is a bit of an enigma. It’s very easy to limit your impression of veterinary medicine to clinical practice, but it’s important to realize the enormous impact of veterinary public practice and the opportunities available. It might be common to assume that all veterinary public practice is the same, but this is incorrect; veterinarians hold so many different roles outside of the clinic, from work to protect public health by preventing zoonotic disease transmission, to protecting our food supply, developing vaccines and therapeutics, and more.
Can you share with us a memorable clerkship or experience in the PC track?
"One particularly special aspect of the PC track is the small size, which allows close relationships between faculty and students. As such, I felt very supported through the program, and had a great number of opportunities (more than time would allow!) to explore different career paths. As a PC alum, I appreciate all of the opportunities to connect with current students in the program and stay in touch with Drs. Ragan and Rist, as well as other faculty."