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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Spotlight On: Mr. Alfan Dangin

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 Cover of Spotlight On: Mr. Alfan Dangin article
by Shannon Cameron, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA

Congratulations to Alfan Dangin, a member of CVM’s Communications Staff, for winning a 2011 Blue Pencil Award from the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC). Nominated under the special purpose category, Dangin’s children’s story, Sweets are Not Good Treats, received a perfect score in each category considered by the judges. In the writing category, Dangin’s story rated 10 out of 10 for:

  • clear and concise writing,
  • language appropriate for the intended audience,
  • drawing in the reader, and
  • being free of jargon, doublespeak, or clichés.

On May 11, 2011, First Place, Second Place, and Awards of Excellence will be announced at the Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards Luncheon in St Paul, Minn., during the 2011 NAGC Communications School. Which award will go to Dangin is yet to be known, but at CVM, he’s already a winner.

Dangin has served the federal government for over twenty years. He has been an integral part of CVM for the past ten years, and while he spent the better part of his tenure handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the Center, the last three years have been spent teaching the public about FDA.

CVM’s Exhibit Program reaches out to consumers, veterinarians, and industry, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and gather information about FDA-regulated products. While working on the program, Dangin has traveled to more than a dozen states, providing public health information at conferences, such as the:

  • Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA),
  • National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA),
  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and
  • American Public Health Association (APHA).

What drew Dangin into the program? “Talking to people,” he says, “and being able to share with them who we are and what we do at the FDA.” Recognizing a need to share this basic information with people of all ages, Dangin began creating kid-friendly material for the conferences. His pictures, puzzles, and poems were such a hit that they led him to manage CVM’s Kids Page and create an award-winning publication. Dangin’s start in the federal government, however, was far from his Ode to Little Turtles.

In March 1991, Dangin joined the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, DC, retrieving and filing documents. Over the next eight years, Dangin developed skills as a paralegal, gained high level security clearances, and began declassifying secret documents for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and U.S. Department of State. After gaining this knowledge, Dangin joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to work on FOIA requests for three years, before eventually joining FDA. Dangin’s creativity and varied interests are not, however, limited to his professional life.

Dangin is a skilled photographer both in and outside the government. Born in Washington, DC, Dangin has always loved the city, and photographing its memorials and monuments has always been a hobby. In 2008, Dangin’s photograph of the Albert Einstein Memorial was picked up by Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Wondrous Places You’ll Go! card game.1 At CVM, Dangin photographs new employees, as well as subjects for the Annual Report and FDA Veterinarian newsletter. In January 2010, Dangin’s photograph of newly appointed FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor was picked up by The New York Times.

Thank you, Mr. Dangin, for your lifelong service to the federal government, and congratulations again on your 2011 Blue Pencil Award!

1  2008 I can do that! Games™, www.icandothatgames.comdisclaimer icon, P.O. Box 45128 Seattle, WA 98145-0128