Emily Feyes, DVM, MPH
What is your current role?
Director of the OSU-CVM Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at The Ohio State University
In your current position, are you playing a role in the COVID-19 response effort?
Yes, indirectly. I have a strong interest in Infection Control which plays an important role in reducing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. The Antimicrobial Stewardship Working Group and OSU Veterinary Medical Center (OSU-VMC) Infection Control Group have worked during this pandemic to create educational materials for the Veterinary College Community, such as a Hand Hygiene training video and a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training video. I have also participated in discussions regarding the use of PPE in the VMC.
I am also very interested in zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans) and increasing awareness of these diseases outside of the veterinary community. I was given the opportunity to present on this topic and the impact of COVID-19 in veterinary medicine to 3rd and 4th year College of Medicine students along with a few of my colleagues in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. My particular focus was highlighting the factors that result in these diseases entering into the human population, which allows us to better understand how we ended up in this current pandemic situation.
What is the main lesson or takeaway that you have obtained during your participation in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I think this pandemic has really driven home the importance of inter-professional cooperation when faced with a previously unrecognized zoonotic disease and the importance of good infection control practices, strict biosecurity practices, and proper hand hygiene.
How did the VPH program prepare you for this position?
I was fortunate enough in the VPH program to be taught by experts in the fields of infectious/zoonotic disease, infection control and biosecurity, epidemiology, and so much more. My VPH course work provided me with an in-depth understanding of the principles of public health - epidemiology, biostatistics, population medicine, biosecurity, infection control.... I could go on and on. Not only did my courses provide me with foundational knowledge, I was given multiple opportunities to apply it. My work in the OSU-CVM Antimicrobial Stewardship Program actually began while I was in the VPH program. The work that was being done to develop this program strongly aligned with my professional interests and I was fortunate to be able to contribute to the launch of the ASP program in our hospital and stay on in a newly created position to continue to grow the program in our College and beyond.
My other experiences in the VPH program have directly benefited me as I engage stakeholders and colleagues within the University and the state of Ohio. In the VPH program, I worked directly with faculty and external government stakeholders on numerous projects analyzing the impacts of zoonotic diseases on public health locally, nationally, and internationally. The professional experiences gained during this time enhanced my knowledge of the science, but equally as important, they improved my ability to network in the public health community and work with individuals in the public and private sector. This has and will continue to benefit me in my career.
Any other comments or pearls of wisdom you would like to share with current students and alumni?
As my mentor, Dr. Armando Hoet, loves to say: people are always watching you. It is important to always put in your maximum effort and maintain your professional composure as you never know what personal connection or project could lead to your next job.
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