David Castellan, DVM, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, Bryan-College Station, has received the Global Service Veterinary Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA.
This year’s Global Service Veterinary Award was announced at the AVMA Virtual Convention, which took place from Aug. 20-22.
Castellan, who holds a Texas A&M AgriLife Research appointment, serves as an international animal health subject matter expert and epidemiologist for the Veterinary Field Epidemiology Training Program, working with international stakeholders.
A member of the Texas A&M University System and AgriLife Research, the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, IIAD, addresses animal health and food security challenges through developing innovative solutions and collaborations. In 2004, the institute was designated as a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence. In 2014, it was designated as a collaborating center in the specialty of biological threat reduction by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The AVMA Global Service Veterinary Award
The Global Service Veterinary Award is a lifetime achievement award presented by the association. Since its inception in 1934, fewer than 20 veterinarians worldwide have been honored with this award.
The AVMA is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 95,000 member veterinarians worldwide. According to the association, the global service award was developed to recognize outstanding service by a member of the association who has contributed to international understanding of veterinary medicine. Nominees are considered based on the total impact their career has had on the global veterinary profession.
“Dr. Castellan epitomizes what it means to apply science to help solve the world’s toughest problems,” said Elsa Murano, Ph.D., interim director of the IIAD and director of The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. “In his field of animal diseases, it is exceedingly important to have a global focus, given that pathogens do not respect borders, as evidenced by the emergence of pandemics over the last 10 years.”
Castellan’s domestic achievements in food safety and emergency disease analysis as well as his international efforts in epidemiology training demonstrate the impact of his veterinary career both locally and globally, wrote IIAD associate director Heather Simmons, DVM, in her award nomination.
She noted Castellan’s overarching principle is to “actively help others in emergency situations and in prevention of disease outbreaks using sustainable tools and methods.” She also described him as “an advocate of international collaborations to advance capacity development and the veterinary profession.”
Castellan said he was deeply honored to be the recipient of the prestigious award.
“This award recognizes the ongoing need to strengthen the global veterinary field epidemiology capacity,” he said. “It also reinforces the need to actively support a ‘One Health’ approach if we are to prevent, intervene and mitigate the spillover of high-risk disease pathogens across the human-animal-environmental interface.”
More of Castellan’s international work
Castellan has contributed to the veterinary profession in more than 25 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
From 2008 to 2015, Castellan was the senior veterinary epidemiologist for the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases of the Food and. Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Region of Asia and the Pacific. In that role, he was involved in supporting the development of regional epidemiology capacity, including the Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians training centers in Thailand, China and Indonesia. He also delivered program training in counties of Southeast and South Asia.
Castellan’s additional professional contributions include the development and delivery of country contingency plans for avian influenza; an avian influenza vaccination planning tool; an epidemiology mapping tool; the Tripartite Joint Risk Assessment Methodology; and outbreak investigations, surveillance and field research studies in developed and developing countries.
He holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Guelph in Ontario Province, Canada. He has a master’s in preventive veterinary medicine and a poultry medicine residency with the University of California, Davis, and is board certified with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.