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  1. Animal Health Literacy

Dr. Phillip Turfle

Veterinary Medical Officer
Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation

1. Why did you become a veterinarian?

Phillip Turfle
Phillip Turfle

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 in millions of animals across our nation, and the decisions we make are monitored by people across the globe.

4. What does the veterinary profession mean to you?

To me, the veterinary profession means protecting and promoting animal health, easing animal suffering, and protecting human health by preventing disease transmission to people. Veterinarians help make our interactions with animals a positive experience, working to alleviate suffering and foster healthy human-animal relationships. It is an honor for me to participate in a profession whose benefits are so far reaching and diverse.

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.

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