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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Phillip Turfle

 Phillip Turfle
 Phillip Turfle

Veterinary Medical Officer
Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation

1. Why did you become a veterinarian?

I entered veterinary medicine because of the medicine. I wanted to pursue a scientific track and I enjoyed the study of infectious disease. I had contemplated studying human medicine, but decided that studying the larger animal kingdom was my calling. The idea came to me late in high school because growing up I really had no idea that veterinarians existed. As I pondered my career path, I decided to wed my desire to treat and cure disease with my love for animals.

2. What made you want to work for CVM?

I came to CVM to have a larger influence over the veterinary world. In practice, I was making a difference in individual lives, but I wanted something far-reaching, something that would make a longer-lasting impact. So, I moved from helping out a couple dozen families a day in practice to impacting millions daily at CVM.

3. What is the best thing about being a veterinarian for CVM?

The best thing about being a veterinarian at CVM is knowing that I am making a contribution in the lives of millions of people and animals around the world by approving safe and effective drugs for animal use. Although our projects may individually seem small, their impact is world-wide. The products that we approve and regulate are used by millions of people across our nation, and the decisions we make are monitored by people across the globe.

4. What does Vet 2011 mean to you?

Vet 2011 means that I am part of a tradition that goes back at least 250 years. Although people had been helping and treating animals for hundreds of years beforehand, the opening of the first veterinary school was a momentous occasion. Veterinarians protect not only animal health but human health as well. Disease transmission from animals to people and vice versa has caused large amounts of suffering over the centuries. It’s the roll of the veterinarian to prevent or ease that suffering in animals and to prevent disease transmission to people. Vet 2011 is another platform to celebrate all that has been accomplished in veterinary medicine and all that veterinarians have done for human and animal health around the world.

5. What is your most memorable moment as a veterinarian?

Because I am not much of a story teller, my most memorable moment is not a single instance. It is the smiles, the thank yous, the “God bless you”s, the hugs, the handshakes, the tears, the laughter, the notes, the cards, the overall appreciation, and the affirmation that I received from those I helped, both people and animals. There’s nothing like reuniting friends once given up for lost or watching the love between family members, even if they are of different species. Those are the things that I remember and that affirm my decision to become a veterinarian.