One Health Career Spotlight
Special Guest: Dr. Taylor Winkleman, Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow
Dr. Taylor Winkleman. Photo by Dr. Emma Locatelli.
Dr. Taylor Winkleman received her DVM from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and her MPH with an emphasis in policy and management from the University of Georgia College of Public Health. She is a founding member and the current coordinator (head) of the Next Generation Global Health Security Network.
While in graduate school, she worked in Uganda, New Zealand, Germany, and Bahrain, honing an interest in international work. Upon graduation in 2016, Dr. Winkleman was chosen by the American Veterinary Medical Association as a Congressional Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's fellowship program. She served her fellowship in the office of Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), with a portfolio that included international health, foreign relations, space policy, science and technology policy, human and animal trafficking, human rights, and more. After stints consulting for DC area non-profits and NGOs, Dr. Winkleman worked as a contractor at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in the Chem/Bio Research Division. In 2018, she began teaching as an adjunct at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, where she teaches international policy, public policy for scientists, shaping national science policy, emerging biotechnologies, and emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.
She is currently a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, serving her fellowship at the Office of the Representative to the UN and North America, with a focus on biosecurity, international relations, health security, and humanitarian affairs. Dr. Winkleman lives in Washington, DC, with her two dogs and two cats, and when she isn't busy with work and friends, you can often find her hanging from a flying trapeze down at the TSNY rig in Navy Yard.
Dr. Winkleman with Andrea Keklak introducing a resolution condemning human rights abuses in Chechnya, 2017. Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor Winkleman.
Question 1) How did you first get interested in One Health/Veterinary Public Health as a concept?
I was first introduced to One Health by one of my professors in vet school, Dr. Mary Hondalus. It immediately clicked for me- as a big-picture thinker, the idea that what we do in one area affects another was intuitive for me. I think it really hit home for me when I was volunteering in Uganda; there's a huge difference between understanding a concept and really seeing it in action, and working on a project that looked at zoonoses in pastoral populations really drove home that point.
Dr. Winkleman performing cattle disease surveillance in Uganda, 2016. Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor Winkleman.
Question 2) What is your favorite part about working in One Health/Veterinary Public Health?
The thing I love most about working in One Health is how much it broadens career possibilities. If One Health was not an accepted concept, I'd have a much harder time talking to people credibly about so many of the things I spend almost all of my time on- but because it is a thing, I can work in the humanitarian space and feel like I belong. One Health is the antidote to imposter syndrome. The other truly wonderful thing about One Health is that no one person can do or be all things, so it not only invites but requires collaboration- and collaboration always means better ideas, more colleagues, and more chances to understand the world around you in new and exciting ways.
Dr. Winkleman performing E. coli surveillance among cattle in New Zealand, 2016. Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor Winkleman.
Question 3) How does One Health apply to your current role, and why is it important?
The World Health Organization's mandate is, first and foremost, human health. But we all know that human health is inextricable from environmental and animal health, and having a veterinarian in the room when discussing matters like biosecurity and health security is a valuable addition and perspective to have. When we are discussing things like the interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals, the underlying principle of One Health- that everything is connected, like organs in a body- is so important to understand and to employ.
Lobbyists bring the best props to Congress! Shown here is the ASPCA's "prop" in 2017. Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor Winkleman.
Question 4) Do you have any words of advice for readers wanting to be more active in One Health?
For me, One Health is the springboard to everything I do. My greatest advice to people wanting to work in One Health, since I imagine they already really understand it, is to work to understand the rest of the context. People don't work in a vacuum of science and medicine. There are politics, global events, and relationships that need to be understood- and without understanding those inputs, any advances or great ideas that any of us have might never really see the light of day. I am currently working my way through several books about the history of the atomic bomb, the Cold War, and modern politics, I read about international relations constantly, and I'm always consulting with colleagues on the politics and mores in their respective home countries. The more you understand the world you are working in, the better you can help improve it for everyone.
"Dog" is a universal language. Dr. Winkleman obtained her international veterinary certificate through an internship at the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2012. Photo courtesy of Dr. Taylor Winkleman.
The VPH SPIG is appreciative of your time and service, Dr. Winkleman! Thank you!