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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Centennial Bike Ride Brought Out CVM’s Best Spokes Folks

by Walt Osborne, M.S., J.D., Assistant Editor
FDA Veterinarian Newsletter 2006 Volume XVII, No IV

A slight chill was in the morning air that hovered over the assembled cyclers that Sunday morning, September 17, when most of us were either sleeping in late or perhaps just stumbling from the coziness of our beds. But for hundreds of the more intrepid types, this would be a day to put their cycling prowess to the test: tours of 13, 25, 50, 62, and 100 miles were offered as part of FDA’s Centennial Bike Ride Event in the rolling, verdant hills surrounding Berryville, VA. As the morning mist started to burn off, riders were busy stretching, checking their bikes and equipment, chatting about the day ahead, with some seeking introspection and wondering either aloud or to themselves, “Again, why am I doing this?"

The town of Berryville, located in Clarke County, with a population of about 3,000, is usually quite sleepy itself on any given Sunday morning, but not this day. Bicyclers of all ages and riding abilities had descended on this suburban jewel to take part in a Food and Drug Administration celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the passage on June 20 of its founding law—the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act. The Centennial is a major milestone in FDA’s history, and the 1906 law transformed FDA into a scientific regulatory agency, making it the oldest consumer protection agency in our nation.

The bike ride, which was just one in a series of events being held during 2006 to commemorate FDA’s Centennial, brought together almost 1,200 riders and was held in partnership with the Potomac Pedalers -Touring Club in its annual Historic Back Roads Tour. The Club’s partnership proved valuable to all the participants, lending its great reputation for a well-planned and marked route, lots of great food, and plenty of friendly volunteers to the event. But the credit must go to CVM staffers Drs. Jean-Michel Campagne, Joseph Cormier, James Nitao, and Bernadette Dunham who came up with the novel concept of a Centennial bike tour, funding sources, and lots of willing hands to fully execute the concept (not to mention donning spandex and helmets and putting pedals into action themselves!).

Clarke County High School’s lobby area was the site that day of a Health Fair, coordinated by Dr. Rebecca Owen, with assistance from Drs. Bharati Dhruva, -Carmen Stamper, Norman Gregory, and Michael -Popek, all from CVM. The fair proved to be a great success and provided a venue for information about most of FDA’s Centers (CVM, CDRH, CDER, and -CFSAN, which were represented by Ms. Nancy Wynne, Mr. Louis Kaufman, and Dr. Hesha -Duggirala), as well as numerous community and public health groups representing such health disciplines as Alzheimer’s disease, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, hemophilia, women’s health (FDA Office of Women’s Health), kidney disease (the American Kidney Association), the American Lung Association, the Berryville Police Department, and veterinary medicine (Mr. Peter Schmidt represented VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine). FDA’s History Office, represented by Ms. Cindy Lachin, had set up a special display on CVM’s history that was very informative. It included examples of old veterinary products from other eras. A favorite was a box of “Dr. LeGear’s Poultry Prescription—The Laying Tonic, a Tested Poultry Remedy.” CVM’s information booth was managed by communications staff member and CVM Centennial coordinator, Ms. Vashti Klein, whose boundless energy and creativity contributed to the success of the event. The booth provided visuals to depict CVM’s role in drug review, monitoring and enforcement, feed safety, research and communications, and education. Traffic at the booth was brisk throughout the day, and several copies of the following CVM flyers were distributed: “Taking Care of Pets During a Disaster or Emergency,” “Caution to Pet Owners—Pet Treats and Toys May Cause Problems for Your Pet,” “Alert to Parents—Pet Turtles May Be Harmful to Your Children’s Health,” and “Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods.”

A tip of the biking helmet to all of the organizers and all of the riders who gave up many hours to organize and participate in the event and color the -Virginia landscape with good old fashioned FDA pride and enthusiasm. The ride provided an opportunity for FDA to lead by example through FDA employee participation in activities that encourage exercise, fitness, and overall personal health. As CVM biologist and ardent bike rider, Dr. Dragan Momcilovic, so aptly wrote on his blog site, “This ride was a great experience for me in particular because it gave me an opportunity to honor the 100th anniversary of my agency, the Food and Drug Administration.” Could there be a better “spokes” -person?

[The following captions explained the four images associated with this article:]

One of the scenic stops on the FDA Centennial Bike Ride Event.

Vashti Klein of CVM’s Communications Staff tended the CVM booth, answering questions about the Center and explaining how it works to protect public and animal health.

Dr. Elizabeth Cormier and husband Dr. Joseph Cormier, who both work at CVM and participated in the FDA Centennial Bike Ride. Dr. Joseph Cormier helped organize the ride. They are wearing the FDA bike jersey created for this event and are standing in front of the CVM exhibit booth. Several FDA Centers had booths set up at the headquarters for the bike ride, the Clarke County High School, Berryville, VA, to tell the public event participants more about FDA.

A map of the course laid out for the FDA Centennial Bike Ride Event, held September 17, 2006, in Berryville, VA, a small town across the Potomac from CVM’s headquarters in Rockville, MD. The most intrepid bicyclists traveled the entire 100-mile route.