Prominent One Health Advocate and Kansas Public Health Veterinarian Now Working for U. S. Senator as AVMA Congressional Fellow


Note: The physician-veterinarian One Health team of Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP, Bruce Kaplan, DVM and Thomas P. Monath, MD recently requested an update on the career of Dr. Gail Hansen [DVM, MPH], formerly the state public health veterinarian for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  The following was received Feb 19, 2009:

 Gail Hansen has changed career paths within veterinary medicine yet again and is currently working on health care issues as an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Congressional Fellow.  She has been working for Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) since the end of October and in January became the main health policy person in the D.C. office of Senator Sanders.  She also works a bit in other subject areas in D.C., including Veteran’s Affairs, antimicrobial resistance and agricultural issues.  Before the Fellowship program she was the state epidemiologist and the state public health veterinarian for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) for 12 years and just finished terms as the infectious disease chair of the Executive Board of Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and eight years on the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV).  Before moving to Kansas, Gail was an epidemiologist at the Seattle-King County Health Department involved in a longitudinal cohort study of blood-borne pathogens among injection drug users.  She worked for 14 years as a veterinary medical clinician in private practices in Seattle, New York City, and Greensboro, North Carolina, and a short stint as a pathologist at the Pennsylvania State University.


Her policy interests while in Washington are infectious diseases, health disparities, public health, international relations, animal welfare, and promoting “One Health”.  Her answer to the question she gets most often: “Why don’t you want to be a veterinarian anymore?” is “I am still a veterinarian doing what veterinarians are uniquely trained to do!” 


Yes, Gail did work on the economic recovery and reinvestment act to try to kick start the lagging economy, on reauthorizing CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program for underinsured and uninsured children and pregnant women) and is working with several other Senate staff members on health care reform.  And no, she can’t get you White House tour tickets.


The AVMA Fellowship Program provides veterinarians the opportunity to spend a year in Washington, D.C. and develop a better understanding of the governmental process, gain insight into the future of science and the veterinary profession, while assisting in creating legislation and regulations that affects our nation and profession. The AVMA Congressional Fellows serve as a scientific resource for Congress and seek to improve public policymaking through the infusion of science.  Congressional Fellows have the chance to use science-based decision making in public policy development, experience and influence major public policy debates, and network with government professionals.  Gail has found several former AVMA Fellows who are still working in Washington in other capacities, including Sara Lister, Karen Becker, Sarah Babcock and Doug Meckes.  They provide great guidance and sometimes just a friendly ear."


For more information on the AVMA Congressional Fellowship program go to”