Rockville, Md. - Dr. Linda Tollefson, deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), is the first female veterinarian in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to attain rear admiral rank.
Rockville, Md. - Dr. Linda Tollefson, deputy director of the Foodand Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), is the firstfemale veterinarian in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corpsto attain rear admiral rank.
Of the approximately 5,600 Commissioned Corps officers in the U.S. PublicHealth Service, only 54 have attained this rank. Tollefson was appointedassistant surgeon general (rear admiral), Aug. 1.
As CVM deputy director, Tollefson is responsible for public health andinternational activities. She manages and coordinates CVM projects underthe National Food Safety Initiative, which aims to lessen the incidenceof foodborne disease via collaboration among government and private agencies.
She views the post as "recognition" of the veterinarian's rolein food safety and in public health.
"For many years, it's an area that has been almost exclusively handledby physicians, nurses and pharmacists. But if you think about the emergingdiseases issue, more and more diseases are being recognized as zoonoticin nature. There's good reason for wanting veterinarians with their backgroundand expertise in infectious diseases and food safety issues," she explains.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1976 and a Doctor of VeterinaryMedicine degree in 1980 from the University of Illinois and a Master ofPublic Health degree from The Johns Hopkins University in 1984 with specialtraining in epidemiology and biostatistics.