The impactful instruction of R. K. Anderson, DVM, MPH, DACVB, DACVPM, and Stan Diesch, DVM, MPH—University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) professors emeriti who pioneered the College’s public health curriculum—launched retired Colonel Lyle Vogel, DVM, MPH, into a career of public health veterinary medicine and public service.
After graduating from the CVM in 1967, Vogel entered the U.S. Army, where he found that his foundation of public health courses equipped him to succeed. Vogel says the MPH degree he later completed at the University of Minnesota in 1978 helped him move further and further up the ranks in the Army. “I ended my Army career after more than 26 years of service with the rank of colonel,” he says.
Vogel then started a 16-year career with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), where his initial primary duties concerned public health policy development and implementation. While at the AVMA, he often crossed paths with Will Hueston, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota professor emeritus and first director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, whose expansive and inclusive vision of veterinary education included starting the Veterinary Pioneers in Public Health Fund.
Vogel was fearful that the donor base for the Pioneer Fund would be small because, although almost all veterinarians contribute to public health, few identify themselves as public health veterinarians. “That gave me incentive to contribute to this fund instead of some other worthy choices,” he says. “When we are able to share to help others, we should do so.”
To this day, Vogel values the many international experiences he had throughout his career, which, he says, enabled him to better understand global aspects of health and appreciate how international, regional, and national policies impact U.S. veterinarians. “This fund allows students to obtain this experience early in their careers so they can apply that knowledge throughout a greater proportion of their careers,” he says. “It benefits both the public good and the students themselves.”
About the Pioneer Fund
The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety has a long history of supporting its veterinary public health (VPH) programs through local and national experiential learning and research opportunities. Established in 2012, the Pioneer Fund was initially designed to support VPH residents with funding for experiential learning at local, national, and international levels. The fund was named for the founding pioneers of the VPH program at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
In 2016, the fund was expanded to include University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and residents, who seek experiential opportunities for professional development in the field of veterinary public health. It is awarded twice a year, and recipients have traveled to Uganda, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Chile as well as to various conferences around the United States.
The Pioneer Fund is the only fund available specifically intended to open up opportunities for faculty, staff, or residents who work in veterinary public health at the University of Minnesota. Professional development opportunities are increasingly vital to the complex and changing world of public health.