Outstanding USA Motivational Educator and One Medicine (One Health) Advocate Dies

*By Dennis Thompson, DVM, MPVM,  Ronald D. Warner, DVM, MPVM, PhD, James L. Alexander, DVM, MPVM, Thomas L. Cropper, DVM, MPVM, James H. Wright, DVM, MPVM

Margaret E. Meyer, PhD (1923-2010), died on October 8th, 2010, after a long, distinguished career as a microbiologist and professor.  She was a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of California in Davis (UCD). 

Dr. Meyer’s PhD in Comparative Pathology (UCD) led to a career as a world-renowned expert on brucellosis.  She worked on projects with reindeer in Alaska, bison in Yellowstone, and many other species in Jordan, Siberia, Spain and Jerusalem.   Her career started after receiving a Bachelors Degree in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley.  She then worked for the U. S. Public Health Service, and later for the County of Alameda (California, USA) on control of tuberculosis.  After working a year with the United States Department of Agriculture, she began her long career at UCD.  She was recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (now: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC).  Her laboratory was designated as a reference lab for the U.S. Public Health Service and as an official Brucella Training Center for the World Health Organization (WHO).  She was an editorial reviewer for the Journal of Infectious Diseases and a Resident Consultant on brucellosis research at the Pan American Zoonoses Center in Argentina for WHO.  Dr. Meyer was elected as an Honorary Affiliate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.  She was also formally recognized in many other ways as an eminent scientist, including being designated as Professor Emeritus. 

Perhaps her greatest contribution was the effect she had on hundreds of her students.  Dr. Meyer emphasized zoonoses and espoused “One Medicine” (now commonly referred to as One Health) and well before it regained wide-spread recognition in the first decade of the 21st Century.  It was without doubt, and is still clear, that Dr. Margaret E. Meyer (although neither a veterinarian or physician) was a devoted believer in the “One Medicine” concept, and her lifetime body of work advanced and validated the same.

Dr. Meyer combined detailed knowledge and application of laboratory research, with a broad perspective on disease in populations.  Her teaching skills were so excellent that she changed how students think.  She altered how students would view the world for the rest of their lives.  What higher compliment can there be for a professor than her former students agreeing on that?  Although she was a very serious scientist who was subjected to discrimination, as she broke through barriers that existed for female scientists.  She regularly had a twinkle in her eye when meeting with students, and frequently a soft smile too.  She was a rare scientist who excelled in the laboratory, in the field, and in the classroom.  She was a teacher whose students will remember and appreciate her as long as they live.

*Drs. Thompson, Warner, Alexander, Cropper and Wright were all students of Dr. Meyer.

Obituaries previously posted for Margaret E. Meyer on ProMED-mail 4 Nov-2010,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1010,85645 and The Sacramento Bee 24 October-2010