Through the support of the Veterinary Pioneers in Public Health Fund, Justin Bergeron, BVMS, ’16 MPH, was able to travel to Haiti for an experiential learning experience in 2016. The experiential learning opportunity he did was done in conjunction with the US Army and their Continuing Promises Mission FY15.
During his experience in Haiti, he participated in rabies control planning on a national scale and was also able to build the local veterinary capacity in several ways. “Through our group we had the opportunity to teach several local veterinarians how to castrate cats, dogs, and pigs. These are skills that they do not receive in their course of education and they were eager to learn these new skills,” he said. By the end of Bergeron’s experience, the veterinarians were proficient in these new skills and he listened as many of them talked about teaching other colleagues who could not be present.
Prior to Bergeron’s experience in Haiti, the number of qualified people in the country who could educate the public about rabies and the associated risks was estimated to be about 20. Bergeron and his fellow participants certified an additional 45 people, who represented a truly One Health approach in their career backgrounds: veterinarians, nurses, teachers, and medical doctors.
After finishing his residency in the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, Bergeron now serves as a veterinary corp officer in the US Army and is the assistant state veterinarian for the state of Maine.