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Shortage Region CA245

Shortage Location - Must Serve
One of the California Animal Health & Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System's labs in Ontario, Tulare, Turlock, or Davis
Shortage Location - May Serve
Remaining labs in the CAHFS system
Location Center
One of the California Animal Health & Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System's labs in Ontario, Tulare, Turlock, or Davis
VSGP Status
VMLRP Status
(Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program)
Priority of shortage
Fiscal year
Percent FTE
(Full Time Equivalent, based on a 40hr work week.)
Type of Shortage
(Veterinary Practice Area / Discipline / Specialty)
Type III Shortage: Public Practice
Other Must Serve
Other May Serve

University of California, Davis

Position Title
Staff Veterinarian or Clinical Professor
Disciplinary area
Food Safety
Public Health
Other disciplinary area
Carry Over
Nominator Name
Dr. Annette Jones
Nominator Title
Division Director
Nominator Org
California Dept of Food and Agriculture
Nominator Email
Nominator Phone
Importance/Objectives of Veterinarian
The CAHFS system is California's premiere veterinary diagnostic center supporting disease detection and surveillance for vets, producers and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), serving state animal agriculture valued at $7.61 billion. As one of two western Level 1 labs in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), CAHFS plays a key role in reinforcing state and federal agencies responsible for protecting livestock and poultry across CA from catastrophic animal diseases and other health or agricultural issues. CAHFS helps protect public health and ensure the availability of safe, affordable food products for consumers. The objectives of a veterinarian meeting this shortage include: domestic and foreign animal disease surveillance activities, livestock and poultry diagnostics, emergency response, diagnostic capability development, and fulfilling regulatory reporting requirements. They serve as a member of the veterinary diagnostic community supporting the diagnosis of endemic, regulatory and reportable diseases. Additionally, they may develop outreach, including talks and educational resources, for vet students, producers, practitioners and the public. A veterinarian meeting this shortage must have advanced training in a diagnostic discipline such as pathology, microbiology, immunology, or epidemiology.
Veterinarian Medical Activities & Services
Daily activities of a CAHFS diagnostician may include case coordination, necropsy, and diagnostic testing for routine and regulatory disease cases that support disease prevention, eradication, and control programs. Diagnosticians are also expected to support a wide range of foreign animal disease surveillance activities such as serology, microbiology, pathology, and import and export testing. They also have the opportunity to communicate with private practitioners, industry stakeholders and the public to provide critical outreach and education. The veterinarian may undertake collaborative research arising from diagnostic case material. Additionally, the veterinarian may engage with national laboratory organizations to contribute to the wider discussion of standard-setting committees, nationwide research conferences, and other similar professional opportunities to represent Californian interests.
Historical Efforts of Recruiting/Retaining a Veterinarian
CAHFS actively recruits via professional organizations, academic journals and publications. Run through the University of California, CAHFS' lab system features flexible and regular working hours (except in emergencies) and funds continued professional development. Despite the excellent work-life balance and generous benefits, including vacation, sick leave, parental leave, excellent healthcare and retirement plans, the UC salary structure may not fully compete with private practice opportunities, and recruitment of specialists in rural areas is especially challenging. Awarding funds to this nomination creates incentives for specialists to enter public practice and maintain veterinary diagnostic services, especially in agricultural areas.
Consequences of Not Securing/Retaining a Veterinarian
California agriculture helps feed the nation, with livestock representing some of its most valuable, productive, and iconic commodities. Developing and maintaining CAHFS' diagnostic capabilities to be at the forefront of laboratory practices helps to ensure reliable food safety and food security. CAHFS' close relationship with the University of California supports access to cutting-edge technology and research. The lab has also worked in step with CDFA to pioneer a state-level program evaluating antimicrobial resistance and highlighting practical antimicrobial stewardship interventions. Assuring adequate diagnostician staffing allows the CAHFS system to provide ongoing support and translate new knowledge into better, more efficient service for stakeholders in animal food production industries. Vigilance, ongoing surveillance, and the ability to promptly identify and respond to foreign animal diseases are essential to local and national food safety, food security, and trade. The level of risk for potential introduction of a catastrophic foreign animal disease into the state, and the volume and scope of essential regulatory work, strongly support the need to retain existing staff and/or to secure additional veterinary diagnosticians for California.
Community Aspects
Statewide coverage of the lab system provides the opportunity to experience a variety of California's exceptional climates and recreational activities, from urban to rural lifestyles. All laboratories are within easy driving distance of both mountains and ocean. Davis is the quintessential college town with a vibrant arts community, excellent public schools, engaged and welcoming residents, and multiple civic activities and organizations to choose from. Turlock is nearby many recreational lakes, fabulous mountain-fed rivers, and historical towns. Visit the Hilmar Cheese Factory to learn all about the cheese making process (and sample!). It is also within 2 hours of Yosemite National Park and the San Francisco Bay Area. Tulare is a bountiful dairy and agricultural hub is within a 2-hour drive of magnificent Sequoia National Park as well as the Central Coast, including icons such as Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and the Paso Robles wine region. Ideally placed in the Inland Empire along Route 66, San Bernardino County is often called a "gateway to Southern California." This vast, historic region has something for everyone—from mountainous peaks of San Bernardino National Forest and Big Bear Lake to Mojave National Preserve. Centrally located, San Bernardino County provides easy access to all that California has to offer—Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park, Temecula Valley wine country, and the many beaches along the Pacific Coast in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties.

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