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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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CVM Begins “Animal Health Literacy Campaign” Initiative

by Shannon Cameron, Assistant Editor
FDA Veterinarian Newsletter May / June 2008 Volume XXIII, No III

As part of the Food and Drug Administration’s goal to improve public health, the Center for Veterinary Medicine has initiated the Animal Health Literacy Campaign to provide timely information to consumers, industry, trade, and Federal/State organizations about pressing animal and human health issues.

The Animal Health Literacy Campaign began as a grassroots outreach program through which the Communications staff would partner with veterinarians and others in various CVM program offices to create and produce informational materials for various stakeholders, with an emphasis on educating consumers.

Through a proactive approach to animal health literacy and with the help of Michele Sharkey, D.V.M., from the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation, CVM’s Communication Staff is working in conjunction with subject matter experts throughout the Center to produce informative materials on animal health literacy and participate in outreach activities.

In 2007, CVM produced a brochure about non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs entitled Treating Pain in Your Dog: Keeping Your Best Friend Active, Safe and Pain Free (available for free through the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, CO, at http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/rc/vetnsaids.html) and the success of that publication led the way for the current campaign. More than 50,000 brochures have been ordered in bulk by veterinary practitioners and another 10,000 by individuals.

CVM is currently working on new informational materials such as posters, brochures, handouts, and children’s school book covers to offer safety information about subjects as varied as aquaculture drugs, turtles and salmonella, CVM clerkships, opportunities for statisticians, and the ombudsman services.

As a second phase of the Animal Health Literacy Campaign, CVM is planning to increase its outreach program to key stakeholders.

Strategic communication is vital to CVM’s relationship with the public and with the industries it regulates. Through our strategic communication efforts, CVM can communicate more effectively about policy and regulatory responsibilities. By exchanging ideas with outside groups and institutions we can better advise policymakers and educate the public.

If you have ideas for possible outreach opportunities or suggestions for topics for our next brochure/factsheet, please call Shannon Cameron at 240-276-9300, or email us at AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov.