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AVMA congressional fellow secures spot in congressional office


The year-long position places the AVMA congressional fellow as a full-time staff member in a congresswoman’s office

W.Scott McGill/stock.adobe.com

W.Scott McGill/stock.adobe.com

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced that its congressional fellow, Mariah Lancaster, DVM, landed a year-long placement within the office of US Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s (MN-04) office as a full-time staff member.

“Dr Lancaster’s opportunity with Rep McCollum’s office represents how essential it is for veterinarians to be heard and consulted during the process of crafting legislation on the federal level,” said Rena Carlson, DVM, AVMA president, in an organizational release.1 “We bring a science and evidence-based approach to legislative problem-solving that is invaluable to lawmakers. The AVMA is hopeful that Dr. Lancaster’s experience will inspire others in the veterinary community to explore a career in public policy, as veterinary professionals in this space are critical to advancing well-founded human and animal health legislation.”

According to the release,1 Lancaster will serve as a scientific advisor and will use her experience in wildlife conservation, veterinary medicine, and foreign affairs to provide science-based counsel directly to Congresswoman McCollum and her staff.

Prior to achieving this role, Lancaster served 2 years as a Science Policy Fellow at the US Department of State via the American Association of Science. Here, they gained firsthand public policy experience that will be beneficial throughout the fellowship. Lancaster also served on the Government Relations and Advocacy Committee for the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Avian Veterinary Legislative Committee.

Mariah Lancaster, DVM (Image courtesy of AVMA)

Mariah Lancaster, DVM (Image courtesy of AVMA)

“I welcome Dr Mariah Lancaster to my Washington, DC office as a legislative fellow this year,” shared Congresswoman McCollum.1 “The residents of Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District will benefit from their expertise, science-based approach, and contributions as I work to make strategic investments through the Appropriations Committee in support of our environment, public health, and national priorities. I look forward to having Mariah on board as we take on the challenges that lie ahead!”

Lancaster graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013 and then went on to receive their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.2 They then worked in Washington, DC, and their home state of Massachusetts as a emergency and general practice relief veterinarian. Lancaster is also a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences at the US Department of State and co-chair of the One Health Affinity Group.

“I am immensely grateful for this singular opportunity to serve Congresswoman McCollum. During my fellowship, I aim to support key priorities for the American people, and animals around the globe, ensuring that we all have clear air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy food to eat,” expressed Lancaster.

“Veterinarians hold critical insights into so many aspects of American life, from livestock management and sustainable agriculture to wildlife population health and the prevention of future pandemics. Our participation in the highest levels of government is critical to both our nation and the international community,” they concluded.1


  1. 2023-2024 AVMA fellow secures placement in congressional office. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. November 9, 2023. Accessed November 9, 2023. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/2023-2024-avma-fellow-secures-placement-congressional-office
  2. AVMA selects 2023-2024 congressional fellow. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. May 24, 2023. Accessed November 9, 2023. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/avma-selects-2023-2024-congressional-fellow
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