Dr. Jacob Merryman, the 2022-23 AVMA congressional fellow, has secured a yearlong placement as a full-time staff member in the office of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York since 2009.
The AVMA Congressional Fellowship Program is nonpartisan and supports participant veterinarians, who go through a competitive selection process and then work to be placed in a congressional office, where they obtain significant experience in federal policy-making and assist the office with their unique veterinary experience.
Dr. Merryman will use his veterinary and public health expertise to provide science-based counsel directly to Gillibrand and her staff. Most recently, Dr. Merryman worked in patient-centric care with an emphasis on exotic animals, reproduction, and public health for a small animal hospital in Sonoma County, California.
As a former U.S. Department of Agriculture extern, Dr. Merryman brings firsthand public policy experience that will be beneficial during his fellowship, which began Sept. 26.
“The AVMA is thrilled about Dr. Merryman’s unique opportunity with Sen. Gillibrand’s office to help shape legislation that impacts the country,” AVMA President Lori Teller said. “By extending his scientific expertise to lawmakers and their staffs, a voice from our profession will influence Congress and public policy decision-makers to take an evidence-based approach to legislative problem-solving.”
Dr. Merryman said: “I aspire to learn how policy is made first-hand and how scientists can contribute. During my fellowship, I will be promoting one health and providing a veterinarian's perspective on a broad set of legislative issues. I know my time on Capitol Hill will be invaluable and look forward to working with Congress and seeing what we can accomplish together.”
Dr. Merryman received his veterinary degree in 2019 from the Western University of Health Sciences. The following year, he earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota.