James Harlan Steele, 1st U.S. public health vet

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

James Harlan Steele,  DVM,  100,  died on November 10,  2013.  Earning his veterinary diploma from Michigan State University in 1941,  and a masters degree in public health from Harvard a year later,  Steele served in the U.S. Public Health Service during World War II,   stationed in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.   Steele in November 1945 recommended to U.S. Surgeon General Thomas Paran Jr. and assistant Surgeon General Joseph Mountin that an office be formed to further veterinary public health.  They assigned Steele to investigate veterinary issues for the National Institutes of Health.  Steele went on to create the veterinary public health agency at the Centers for Disease Control in 1946,  became the first U.S. Public Health Service chief veterinary officer in 1950,  and late helped to form the first World Health Organization Expert Committee on Zoonosis.  Joining the University of Texas School of Public Health faculty in 1971,  Steele remained actively involved in veterinary public health issues as a professor emeritus until his death. Recalled Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases animal disease assistant moderator Peter Cowen,  “Bill Foege,  the former director of CDC,  said at Jim’s 90th annual birthday lecture that Jim’s seminal contribution was that the health of humans and the health of animals are inseparable.  This allowed us to develop a more rational public health future,  because you cannot consider the health of people without considering the health of animals.”

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